A FITTING tribute to a hero of football's early days has been unveiled in Oswestry.

Relatives, town dignitaries and football figures gathered at Oswestry Cemetery (Friday, March 1) as a headstone at the previously-unmarked grave of former Everton and Wales player Charles Parry was unveiled.

Everton FC Heritage Society has conducted grave re-dedications and restorations for several notable former players and club officials.

It was decided that Mr Parry’s grave was worthy of restoration in light of his outstanding contribution to the club’s early successes.

Charles Parry, who was born in Llansilin and raised in Oswestry, was a member of the first Everton team to secure the Football League Championship in 1890/91 - when the club was still based at Anfield.

Aside from winning 13 Wales caps, captaining the side on four occasions, he went on to win the Welsh Cup with Aberystwyth Town in 1900.

During his playing career he also represented Chester St Oswald’s, Liverpool Caledonian, Newtown FC and Oswestry Town.

He was later groundsman at Oswestry Town and a referee in the Birmingham and District League.

Mr Parry worked as a general labourer and was also a publican, later finding work as a sawyer at a railway works.

He died in poverty from tuberculosis in 1922, aged only 52.

Prior to his passing, both Everton and Liverpool FC played in benefit matches for him.

Charlie’s wife, Ada, passed away just four years later and was buried with him.

A plaque in honour of Mr Parry was unveiled at the Market Hall in 2003, and Charles Parry Close was named in his memory.

Rob Sawyer, of the society, said: "Charlie's not one of the biggest names in the club's history, but he was a key player in the first Everton team to win the league, all the way back in 1891," he said.

"That's the first honour that the club had won and it's right that we remember Charlie, especially as he died so young and in poverty; it's right today that we remember him and give him the headstone that he deserves."

Among the organisations who supported the project are Oswestry Town Council, Everton FC TNS, Aberystwyth Town and the Football Association of Wales.

Former Everton midfielder Ian Snodin laid a wreath alongside Mr Parry's granddaughter Margaret Atkins, whose sister Ava died in childhood and is also buried in the grave.

Mr Parry's grandson David thanked all those involved in the project.

"The motto on the Everton crest is 'Nil Satis Nisi Optimum' - 'Nothing but the best is good enough'," he added.

"On behalf of the family, I would like to close by saying 'Nothing but the best is good enough has been surpassed by those involved in making this commemoration such a wonderful opportunity to remember family members."