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Famous Faces and Influential People of Preston

The city of Preston is steeped in history and character. And it’s no surprise that the city has seen its fair share of influential figures.

So, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most memorable people to have been born in or to have lived in Preston over the years.

Nick Park

 

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Nick Park is the creator and animator of children’s classic Wallace & Gromit. Born in Preston, Park grew up on the Greenlands Estate.

Pursuing his childhood love for film-making, Nick Park’s wit, talent and artistic flair took him from success to success. The Wallace and Gromit film series has won three Oscars, while Chicken Run remains the highest-grossing stop-motion animated movie ever made, making a whopping £84,336,223.

Sir Tom Finney

 

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Born in Preston, Sir Tom Finney played for Preston North End throughout his entire career – making 433 appearances and scoring 187 goals. Finney also played 76 times for England, scoring 30 goals and was renowned for his sportsmanship.

Best loved as ‘The Preston Plumber’ to his fans, Finney didn’t stray far from his humble beginnings, continuing his plumbing business while playing. And, as recently as 2019, The Shankly Hotel in Preston is sponsoring The Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre.

Benjamin Franklin

Preston history
Source: Wikimedia Commons

founding fathers of the United States, Franklin lived in Preston city centre for short period.

Today, a blue plaque on Orchard Street pays tribute to Franklin. He is best remembered as an abolitionist who wrote numerous essays on why slavery must be abolished.

Dick Kerr’s Ladies

The women in Dick Kerr’s Ladies F.C are certainly some of the most influential figures of Preston’s past. Boldly taking to the pitch, this was one of the earliest women’s teams in England.

Most notably, the team came out on top in front of 25,000 people while defeating a French side 2-0 in 1920. The memorable match made history as the first international women’s match. The team had formed during World War 1. Dick, Kerr & Co. had joined a company in 1914 while helping to produce ammunition for the war.

The hardworking ladies were given permission to play as many believed that competitive activities would boost morale and aid production. England’s Lionesses have a lot to thank Dick Kerr’s Ladies for.

Leo Baxendale

One of Preston’s most successful famous faces, Leo Baxendale was educated at Preston Catholic College. His first job as an artist was for the Lancashire Evening Post where he created cartoons and adverts.

The talented artist went on to create many of the most iconic characters of children’s comics. He introduced Little Plum, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids in The Beano.

During the 1950s, Baxendale offered children hilariously imaginative escapism during a period of a strict education system and conformist social norms.

Recognised in the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame, Baxendale was said to have had an “incalculable” influence on children and upcoming comic artists.

Freddie Flintoff

 

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Preston born cricket star and broadcaster Freddie Flintoff played primarily for Lancashire serving as fast bowler, middle order batsman and slip fielder.

An all rounder with undeniable talent, Flintoff went on to become England’s “Man of the Series” during the 2005 Ashes.

The cricket superstar also served as captain and vice-captain for England, yet regular injuries took a toll on his career. His retirement from cricket was announced in 2010 yet he played for Lancashire again in May 2014.

Since then, his career has changed direction. Fans are now able to enjoy his expertise and personality as a TV panellist and presenter and new host of Top Gear.

John Inman

 

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Born Frederick John Inman in 1935, the Prestonian actor and singer was best know for his role as Mr. Humphries in ‘Are You Being Served.’

Inman was born in Preston and lived here until he was 12, before moving 17 miles up the road to Blackpool.

The Preston born actor played the Mr. Humphries character in the sitcom from 1972-1985. This infamous role made him a household name and won him multiple awards, including BBC TV Personality of the Year.

At The Shankly Hotel Preston, we love celebrating Preston’s unique history. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest developments on our blog or on our Facebook page.