The family of Barry Albin-Dyer has spoken out after it was revealed a new park had been named after the Mayflower ship, rather than the much-loved funeral director.
The News previously revealed a park opened on the site of the old Fisher FC ground in Salter Road, Rotherhithe, had been named Mayflower Park by the council.
It was given the name in remembrance of the boat that set sail to the New World from Rotherhithe – but there had originally been calls from the community for it to be named after the late popular funeral director Barry Albin-Dyer.
Mr Albin-Dyer, of F. A. Albin & Sons, sadly passed away in 2015 after a life spent comforting families across Southwark and contributing to the community.
The avid Fisher FC supporter was on the club’s board and a stand was named after him in the team’s new ground.
His son, Jon Dyer, said his family had been “delighted” at the prospect of the park being named after his father – and that the first he knew of it being named the Mayflower was when it was published in the News a fortnight ago.
“We were delighted when people asked for the park to be named after our father, as he had such a connection with the place, having been president of the Fisher Football Club for so many years,” he said.
“And we were happy when the council involved us in the initial discussions, but there has been no involvement from the council after that and this is the first we have heard about it being named the Mayflower Park.
“We don’t want to come across anti-Mayflower celebrations, we are and will be contributing to it, but what has the park got to do with the Mayflower?
“If it was a pier on the Thames near where the Mayflower set off that would be different.”
Steve Cornish, an active member of the Rotherhithe community and chair of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland, said the council had “ignored” the community’s request for the park to be named after “such a well-loved person and family”.
“This is a disgraceful attack on local democracy and the democratic process,” he said.
“There is both old history and recent history connected to the immediate area surrounding [the] new park.
“One is its connection to Jonathan Swift and Gulliver’s Travels, the other is Barry Albin-Dyer and his commitment to secure the future of Fisher Athletic Football Club.”
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and safety, said the council sent an email to Mr Albin-Dyer’s family once a decision had been made about the name of the park – but that it must not have been received.
“Our first thoughts when naming the park were of Barry Albin-Dyer, a valued member of the local community,” said Cllr Hargrove.
“So we were really happy that Simon Dyer and Jon Albin [sic] could meet us to discuss this.
“However, we were all pleased with the final decision, to dedicate a stand at Fisher FC to their father.
“Following this meeting we informed Mr Dyer and Mr Albin that the new park was going to be named Mayflower Park, to coincide with the Mayflower celebrations that are due to take place in the area and to highlight the long and important history of this part of London, but sadly it looks as if our email was not received.”