Express & Star

Plaque in honour of Oldbury cartoonist Charlie Grigg unveiled

A plaque to honour a renowned man, who illustrator The Dandy and Beano for more than 20 years, has been unveiled.

Event to unveil the blue plaque and celebrate the work of Dandy comic artist Charlie Grigg, at Rood End School, Oldbury, which was his school when he was a young boy. Charlie's son Steve next to the blue plaque.

Charlie Grigg, from Oldbury, a comic that was published for 75 years, loved drawing from the age of six and quickly became one of the nation's most celebrated comic cartoonists.

He was also behind the design of Dandy’s Korky the Kat for more than 20 years, the iconic Desperate Dan and a host of other sketches.

He died aged 97 on December 4, 2013, but his long career will be remembered for his iconic drawings.

Dr Brian Dakin began looking for the Rood End-born artist to be finally given the 'recognition he deserves' and launched a campaign to for the blue plaque to be made in honour.

He contacted at headteacher at Mr Grigg's old school, Rood End Primary School, to start discussions about the idea of a plaque, which were later welcomed.

More than 200 people gathered at the school in Langley on Saturday for the long-awaited celebration event - which saw Charlie's two aunties officially unveil the special plaque.

Charlie took over drawing the cover for The Dandy on January 20, 1962, working there for the next 22 years, with 21 of those illustrating all the Dandy Annual Covers.

In 1951, he went full-time eventually working for D C Thomson, home of the Dandy and Beano.

Mr Dakin said the celebration event was 'absolutely amazing'.

He said: "We had about 200 people turn up to the event at the school. It was absolutely amazing.

"People from all over the country came to the school for the unveiling. When everyone saw the plaque for the first time it was magical - the school even had to stay open an extra half hour because everyone was taking pictures next to the plaque.

"We raised nearly £900 which helped pay for the plaque. It was initially a milestone but now it's almost like a stepping stone now as the project is beginning to expand and we have more ideas to celebrate Charlie's life in the pipeline.

"It's been a complete and utter joy to be involved."

He added: "Charlie Grigg was such an important man, and his contribution to the youth culture of a generation was incredible.

“He created all of these iconic cartoons, but did it all without leaving Langley. His work is known all over the world, and so he should be recognised as the man behind the brilliant sketches of Dandy."

Born in November 1916, Charles Grigg was the son of a railway fitter and following family tradition, he began an apprenticeship at Smethwick’s Railway Carriage and Wagon Works.

He then moved to Hope’s glassworks in Smethwick, but his love of drawing and being encouraged by his mother and brother saw him going to night school at West Bromwich and realised his artistic talents could earn him some extra income.

He did cartoons for the Evening Despatch and created Rufus the Rabbit for the Oldbury Weekly News and Billy Bone for the Smethwick Telephone.

Mr Dakin said future plans are in the pipeline to release a book celebrating Charlie's life, along with a possible art exhibition featuring his endless work in the Sandwell borough.