First tenants mark new town's 50th

By Connie Osborne Friday 18 July 2014 Updated: 18/07 10:02

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Buy photos » Coun Rebecca Blake, Mayor Pat Witherspoon, Kevin Smart, South Redditch Social Club steward and Coun Pattie Hill, listen to tales from Angela Smith and Norma Hill. Picture by Marcus Mingins 2914009MMR

THE FIRST family to officially move into Redditch New Town were among those to celebrate its beginning 50 years ago.

About 60 residents gathered at South Redditch Social Club to mark the creation of the town's first estate as part of Redditch's 50th anniversary.

They included special guests Angela Smith who was one of the faces behind advertising the new town to persuade people to move to Redditch, and Norma Hill who won Miss South Redditch when the social club opened in 1973.

But the family who caught everyone's attention was William and Diana Robinson - the first tenants of the new town who moved into number two Wishaw Close in Greenlands in February 1968 along with their three-year-old son Dean.

They moved in on a Saturday and the day after were visited by Tony Greenwood, Minister of housing and local Government, who officially opened the house.

The couple told their story of the moving day which included sharing a work van to move them and two other families to save on removal costs as well as watching the rest of the town take shape around them.

They also bought the newspaper cutting from the day they moved in which had a picture of the family opening the door to their new home.

Mr Robinson, who now lives in Church Hill with his wife, said: "It was a fantastic feeling to have a brand new house and such a fuss was made.

"Moving form Birmingham we worried we wouldn't be able to afford £5 a week, which seems funny to think about now.

"We have seen the town transform around us and it was just a wonderful feeling."

The event was organised by councillors Rebecca Blake and Pattie Hill who wanted to hear residents different stories.

As part of the day a small exhibition of memorabilia from over the years was also displayed.

Coun Blake said: "I cannot describe what a privilege it was to hear so many memories and meet people who had a part to play in the new town.

"It was a wonderful afternoon, bringing old friends and new together in this significant year."

She added they had requests to hold similar events across the borough.

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