Late Watford Observer cartoonist Terry Challis to have road near Watford's ground named after him
A cartoonist described as "part of Watford’s history" is to have a road in the vicinity of Vicarage Road Stadium named after him, it has been confirmed.
The Watford Observer launched its bid for Terry Challis to be remembered in this fashion following his death in October 2009 after former colleague Simon Ricketts suggested ‘Challis Avenue’ as a fitting, long-lasting tribute to the talented all-round artist, whose cartoons were an established and very popular part of our Watford Football Club coverage for more than 30 years.
This newspaper has now been told by Watford Council that "the Post Office has confirmed that Challis will be used as a road/block name for a development around the Vicarage Road Football Stadium".
The Watford Observer is delighted this has finally been achieved and believes the timing of this commitment is particularly fitting, given that it comes in the newspaper’s 150th anniversary year and Terry’s much-loved work was a valued part of it for so long. We also believe Terry would be thrilled that this tribute will positioned so close to the home of the club of which he was a lifelong fan.
Terry's partner, Barbara Butcher, said she was "very pleased" about the decision, adding: "I think he deserves it", while close friend and the Watford Observer's former assitant editor and Hornets correspondent Oliver Phillips said: "Terry never sought the limelight and would try to avoid it, yet he was extremely grateful for any sign of appreciation or when he inadvertently got caught in that light.
"I should imagine he’ll be lighting up somewhere in The Great Beyond with a beam of satisfaction still questioning whether he deserves the recognition.
"You made it Tel! The funniest man I ever met and the most talented who always underrated himself. It is thoroughly deserved. I am so pleased.
"It is also fittingly ironic that after his ashes were spread over the Vicarage Road pitch by firework rockets fired from Occupation Road, his name should be linked to the area."
Group editor of the Watford Observer Peter Wilson-Leary said: "Terry’s cartoons on events at Watford Football Club graced the newspaper for so many years so this would be a fitting tribute."
Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill commented: "Terry is definitely part of Watford’s history. I still have the cartoon he did of me when I first became mayor – and it still makes me laugh whenever I look at it."
"I'm delighted the decision has been made to honour Terry in this way," remarked Simon Ricketts. "It is a beautiful and fitting tribute.
"I was lucky enough to work alongside Terry for years. His passion and enthusiasm for the Hornets, coupled with his searing sense of humour and great artistic talent, made him a unique voice for all fans of Watford FC. Always playful but always committed, his cartoons became the 'fan's voice' for so many, long before online forums and phone-in shows.
"To know that the Challis name is going to be prominent near the football stadium that was almost Terry's second home is a thought that fills me with great pleasure and brings a tear to my eye.
"I'm delighted that Watford fans and Watford Observer readers embraced the idea and I'm delighted at this outcome. When that street sign goes up, I will visit it with a smile and remember our old friend, and true Hornet, Terry Challis."