A plaque dedicated to Ritchie Blackmore has been installed on a building of the guitar hero’s birthplace in his hometown of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, following a campaign started by local resident and Blackmore fan, John Cadwallader.
Cadwallader began his quest to see the Deep Purple/Rainbow guitarist - who was born in Weston-super-Mare in 1945 before his family moved to Middlesex two years later - honoured by an English Heritage blue plaque his hometown in 2021.
He told Guitar World last August, “So far, we have plaques dedicated to, amongst others, Haile Selassie and Roald Dahl [who also hail from the town],
“People say that plaques are only dedicated to dead people! But thats not exactly true; I have word that the council are apprehensive to dedicate a plaque to anyone living in case they 'fall from grace' later in life. My job is to get one for Ritchie while he's still alive!”
After starting a petition to install a plaque marking the town as Blackmore’s birthplace, John managed to collect over 2300 signatures. However when it was presented to the council, it was rejected on the grounds that Blackmore was still alive and therefore doesn't qualify.
The story doesn’t end there, though. While the council’s misgivings might have stopped a blue plaque from being awarded, Allendale Nursing Home on Beach Road - the building where Blackmore was born - has decided to step in to realise John’s goal.
“The good news is the nursing home has sponsored and installed a plaque on their front wall for all to see. And let me design it,” he told Guitar World. “We hope to have a full unveiling ceremony on Ritchie's birthday in April.”
Cadwallader chose the words for the plaque, which reads, “Born here April 1945, Rock superstar and Guitar Legend Ritchie Blackmore.” Below this is the caption, engraved in script, “Smoke On The Water, A Fire in the Sky”.
The official unveiling will take place on 14 April. For more information on the arrangements of the event, visit the campaign’s petition page.