THE family of one of a Wiltshire village's most famous sons say they are "quite humbled" by a Blue Plaque commemorating his name and achievements.

The family of John Atyeo joined Dilton Marsh Local History Society to commemorate the former England and Bristol City FC striker with a Blue Plaque on the house where he once lived.

Mr Atyeo’s son Phil joined Graham Noble, of the local history society, to unveil the plaque at 60 High Street, Dilton Marsh.

Phil said: "We are quite humbled to see how many people remember him. To us, he was a father and a nice man but we really do appreciate your kind words and thoughts."

The Atyeo family - daughters Carol Clarke, Alison Brzeszkiewicz and Linda Geddes, son Phil, and grandsons Rob and Tom Clarke and Max and Hugh Atyeo - attended Friday's ceremony. The eldest of Mr Atyeo’s daughters, Julie Haigh, was unable to attend.

The house where he lived is now owned by graphic designer Jeremy Knibbs, 62, who lives there with his partner Svetlana Bykova.

Mr Knibbs said: “I did not know it was Mr Atyeo’s home until the next-door neighbours told us but it is a great honour to live here.

"I have been told that he was such a lovely man. I have never met anyone who had a bad word to say about him."

Mr Atyeo, who died in Warminster in June 1993 aged 61, played as a striker and spent most of his professional career as a footballer at Bristol City FC.

He was born in Dilton Marsh and made 645 appearances for Bristol City FC, scoring a record 351 goals for them.

John Vince, 86, who now lives at Westbury Leigh, used to play knock around football with Mr Atyeo in the local park and said: “We just used to throw our coats down to make goal posts. John was very good at football, rugby and cricket. He could have played any one of them.

“We were just lads having a bit of fun but John went on to play for Dilton Marsh Rovers and Westbury Utd before turning professional.”

Janet Hills, who is in her late 70s, recalled how she used to go and watch Mr Atyeo play for Bristol City.

“He used to take me to the ground in his car and we would sit and wait until it was time for him to go in.

“I saw him score a hat trick against the North Wales side Rhyl in the cup, and play for England at Wembley.

“We used to go to every home game. He played at number eight for Bristol City and for England as an inside forward.”

A statue of Bristol City FC’s most prolific striker stands outside the entrance to the club’s Ashton Gate ground.

Mr Atyeo won six England caps between 1955 and 1957, scoring five goals.

He played as an amateur for Portsmouth in 1950/51, then as a part-time professional for Bristol City while qualifying as a quantity surveyor until signing full-time ahead of the 1958/59 season.

In 1963/64 he reverted to playing part-time and became a mathematics teacher at Matravers School in Westbury and at Kingdown School in Warminster.

Following the unveiling of the Blue Plaque, there was a talk at the Memorial Hall in Dilton Marsh by Tom Hopegood, who wrote a book called Atyeo: The Hero Next Door.