Friday, 30 September 2011

Millwey move becomes a reality

I’VE written before in this column of how I scored the best goal in my footballing days from the half-way line, kicking up hill on the notorious Millwey Rise slope. I won’t bore you with the details again; nobody believed me anyway!

These and other exaggerated footballing stories are bound to be exchanged over the coming weekend when Millwey Rise Football Club moves to its new headquarters at the Cloakham Lawn sport centre.

There will be plenty of quips about Millwey having a flat field to play on after spending 50 years and more running up the Perry Street League’s most challenging slope. One thing is for sure. It will be a very special day for those Millwey members who have worked so hard over the past few months to bring about their move across the Chard Road.

I went over to Cloakham on Saturday morning to meet Ian Hall, one of the prime movers behind the move, and Cloakham officials Peter Baulch and Andrew Moulding. It was great to hear all three talking so enthusiastically about how the Millwey move to Cloakham came about).

At one time it was thought that Axminster Town would be moving to Cloakham, but this was not to be and the Tigers are now persuing their own dreams of a new ground adjacent to Cloakham.

Millwey’s elevation from basic facilities to some of the best in local football with the luxury of a flat playing surface has been a real team effort fostering mutual respect between the footballers and the those who run Cloakham. At the same time Millwey have been extending their footballing opportunities with the formation of a youth section, with three junior teams already in place and more to come. Over 50 kids have been attending weekly training sessions, led by Nick Tregale and daughter Jade.

Tomorrow (Saturday) will see the cutting of the tape to officially mark the opening of the two football pitches for the two senior and junior teams, to be known most appropriately as “Harry’s Field” in memory of Axminster Carpets’ founder Harry Dutfield. Without the Dutfield family, the development of sport at Cloakham would never have happened.

One of the driving forces behind the project has been Millwey’s Ian Hall, who has acted as the club spokesman and has worked closely with the Cloakham officials. Ian has been quick to pay tribute to all those who have made the Millwey move possible and will not like being singled out for particular praise. But Andrew Moulding and Pete Baulch wanted to make sure that Ian gets the credit that he deserves in helping them to see the project through.

I’m happy to oblige.

Days when carnival started with a bang...

THE carnival season is now in full swing and last Saturday it was Sidmouth’s turn to host tableaux from around the area as well as numberous local entries. The general consensus of opinion was that Saturday’s procession was among the best ever in Sidmouth.

I was one of those who helped to relaunch Sidmouth Carnival during the early 1980s when I was editor of the Sidmouth Herald. Led by local businessman Bruce Langton, a group of us got together to revive the carnival. The committee included Phil Baker, who was the manager of the Alliance Building Society, Micky Howitt, a local builder and my brother-in-law, and Brian “Banger” Collins, one of Sidmouth’s great characters who now lives in France.

We had a great deal of fun and I well remember turning up to help build the carnival queen’s float with Bruce Langton, a debonair kind of fellow, dressed in an expensive leather jacket and trendy Gucci loafers. Hardly suitable attire for painting a carnival float!

We also decided that the floats would line up in Sid Road, one of the narrowest entrances into Sidmouth and it was absolute chaos.

Another memory is of being deafended for several hours when Micky, my brother-in-law, hired a confetti gun and set it off by mistake several hours before the procession was due to move off.

It’s great to see the carnival is still going strong.

IT is good to see that pressure is at long last being put on the owners of Webster's Garage, which has blighted Axminster town centre for three decades or more, and the agricultural engineering buildings that were once occupied by Rodney Rendell in Chard Road.

They are being asked by East Devon District Council to tidy up these key sites - and I suppose in the current economic climate that is all that we can expect.

I hope that Axminster Town Council keeps pestering the district council at every opportunity until some action is taken.

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