Freddie Flintoff called the people of Burney ‘dingles’ with six fingers in a series of Twitter posts that have enraged many of the town’s residents and angered disability campaigners.
Tweeting about Prince William’s visit to Blackburn in Lancashire, former England cricketer Flintoff said: “The Prince went to Blackburn but drew the line at Burnley – no six finger handshakes from the dingles for Wills.”
Flintoff is from Preston and was referring to the nickname given to people from Burnley which is taken from a family called The Dingles in ITV1 soap Emmerdale. It is not a compliment.
In a series of Twitter posts, Flintoff took the piss out of “six-fingered” people from Burnley.
After his initial tweet, Flintoff continued:
“The burnley dingles are moaning , the town mobile phone is working overtime with all extra thumbs to the pump!”
He then suggested that people from Burnley were probably illiterate and unable to read his tweets anyway.
“Is the burnley town crier reading these tweets out to all the dingles ? Not this many can read !” said Flintoff.
Dragging England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, who is from Burnley, into the fray, Flintoff wrote: “Do have to get special batting gloves made for all your thumbs?”
“Don’t embarrass yourself, put all your thumbs away close your eye and go to sleep!”
Anderson did retaliate, tweeting to Flintoff: “If the Preston town crier were to read anything out I’m not sure you would here it from your Surrey mansion?”
Sticking the boot into Flintoff’s claims that he is a ‘Preston boy’, he continued:
“it always makes me laugh when you talk about Preston this and Preston that. You live in Surrey and support Man City??”
Not everyone is taking the comments with good humour however. Burnley Councillor Jeff Sumner, who oversees disability issues, demanded an apology from the former cricketer, saying:
“These comments set back the equality issue and add to the idea that it’s ok to criticise people for physical difference.”
Over reaction perhaps?