Blue plaque to be unveiled on Leeds Bridge to mark the life and death David Oluwale and ensure his story will 'never be forgotten'

A blue plaque will be unveiled on Leeds Bridge later this month to mark the life and death of David Oluwale and help ensure his story will "never be forgotten".

The plaque will be placed very close to the point where Nigerian-born Mr Oluwale is believed to have died, having drowned in the River Aire in a racially-motivated incident which left a lasting imprint on the city.

In partnership with Leeds Civic Trust, the David Oluwale Memorial Association (DOMA) has announced it will unveil the plaque on Monday April 25 - almost 53 years to the day since that fateful morning on April 18 1969.

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An image from March of the installation of the new David Oluwale bridge in Leeds. Picture: Leeds City Council

David Oluwale had travelled to the UK from Nigeria in search of a better life but was tragically targeted because of his mental health, homelessness and race.

The blue plaque follows the dedication of a new bridge, now named the David Oluwale bridge, which was recently lowered into place across the River Aire, connecting Sovereign Street to Water Lane.

Partnership work between Leeds City Council, the DOMA and key stakeholders saw the bridge both commemorate his death and demonstrate a lasting commitment to equality and inclusion in Leeds.

Speaking earlier to the YEP, Max Farrar, secretary of the Remember Oluwale charity, said: “Right from the start, Leeds City Council has backed our mission to remind Leeds of its tragic past and to support everyone working for a more welcoming, diverse and equal city.

“This bridge, the imminent Blue Plaque for David Oluwale, and the 2023 memory garden featuring a joyful sculpture by Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA show that David’s story will never be forgotten. They combine to demonstrate that we are making real progress.”

The plaque was made possible thanks to contributions made through a Crowdfunder campaign organised by the Association.

Unveiling the plaque on April 25 will be Caryl Phillips, an internationally-acclaimed writer, now based at Yale University, who was raised and Leeds and whose essay on Mr Oluwale in his 2007 book Foreigners - Three English Lives prompted the formation of the David Oluwale Memorial Association.

Guests will assemble at the new Leeds City Council gardens on Meadow Lane at 5pm where speeches will then take place from speakers including leader of Leeds City Council, Coun James Lewis and Det Ch Supt Carl Galvin, son of police cadet Gary Galvin who exposed the crimes against David Oluwale.

A procession will then take place to the bridge to unveil the plaque and listen to the David Oluwale Choir before guests can gather at The Tetley from 6pm.