School children celebrated with the family of the inventor of Scalextric at a race meet to launch brand new housing Portsmouth City Council has named in his honour.

Pupils from Riders School, in Kingsclere Avenue, Havant, were handed hundreds of pounds of Scalextric prizes by the widow, daughters and grandchildren of Fred Francis, who employed thousands of local people at the factory he opened just yards from the school.

The council's new Fred Francis Close housing construction site is next door to the school

Mr Francis' daughter Julia Hazel said: "Dad's memory lives on and that is fantastic for us, for our mum and for his grandchildren."

Mr Francis' other daughter Catherine Francis-Botting said: "I'm not sure what dad would have made of all of this fuss but these homes will be great for the local area and to have them named after him makes us very proud."

The 30 houses and eight flats will be completed by March 2019 on the Portsmouth City Council owned affordable housing site, next to Kingsclere Avenue.

Cllr Jennie Brent, cabinet member for Property and Housing, said: "This is all about the community and that's what we saw here today - great community spirit.

"To see the history of the Scalextric story being brought to life for the local children, who will be the future of this area, was magical. 

"These houses will be for this community. They will help shorten housing waiting lists and make a difference to the lives of local people so it's fantastic to be able to link that with something that has been so important to this area in the past.

"To see Fred Francis' family here, with the children from the local school, our council team and the contractors who are building the homes - it really felt like we had the whole package here today and that was wonderful to be part of."

Mr Francis' widow Dianne and her family were presented at the end of the turf cutting ceremony with commemorative limited edition replica Ford Escort race cars with 'Fred Francis Close - Havant' emblazoned in gold letters on the roof.

The rest of the restricted run of 100 specially branded cars were snapped up by collectors within hours of being released two weeks ago.
Watch a video of Havant's significance in the history of Scalextric

Find out more about Portsmouth City Council's most ambitious home building programme since the Second World War or call 023 9283 4954.