New housing scheme named after local hero and Lions fan
Millwall manager Neil Harris declared it 'an absolute honour' to officially open the Frank Whipple Estate, a superb new development of 60 social housing homes in Tower Hamlets on Friday afternoon.
Chopper joined Lions club historian Dave Sullivan, dignitaries from Tower Hamlets Council, Mayor John Biggs, and members of Frank's family including daughter Peggy, son Harry and grandson Andrew, to unveil a special commemorative plaque and declare the new development officially open.
Named after inspirational Lions supporter Frank, a fan from 1918 right up until his death aged 103 in 2011, the scheme is situated in Repton Street, E14, opposite where Frank lived happily for many years.
Of the four blocks comprising the new estate, three reflect Frank's interest in the beautiful game, and also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
Each block has been named after footballers with a connection to Tower Hamlets who served in World War 1 - Millwall legend Bill Voisey, Walter Tull and George Hilsdon - with the fourth block named in honour of Tracey Bellamy, a former member of THCH staff who sadly died in 2011.
"It is an absolute honour and privilege to be involved this afternoon," said Chopper, moments after officially unveiling the plaque.
"I was lucky enough to meet Frank a couple of times, including when he came to The Den to celebrate his 100th birthday. He was a very special man.
"This is a tremendous tribute to him. I certainly can't think of many football supporters who have had a housing estate named after them!"
Michael Tyrrell, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Community Housing, added: "As a Millwall fan I am immensely proud that Neil is here to officially open the Frank Whipple Estate.
"Frank was an inspiration to so many people here in Tower Hamlets. He was, we believe, the oldest carer in the United Kingdom having looked after his daughter Peggy for over 30 years following the untimely death of his wife Lily in 1975.
"So many people have said that we should do something to commemorate Frank, so to be able to develop a piece of land that has been derelict since 1969 and build 60 new homes that will provide affordable housing for local people is just fantastic."
A special feature on Friday's official opening will appear shortly on Lions Player.
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