My Somerton History 50 years and counting

Where to begin that is the question…For myself and my wife it was April 1974 when we arrived in Somerton as fresh newly weds and settle in to a ground floor flat in newly built estate at Newcross. 

 I was working for a company that wished to expand its business and I was the vanguard to test the waters here in the west country. I worked alongside Davies Builders Homes workshop on Bancombe Road. Reconditioning Gearboxes for  Vauxhall cars and Bedford lorries for main dealers throughout the west country.

 After 12 Months it was decided that as the company was shrinking and growth was not happening under the Harold Wilson Government they wanted to pull back. My wife and I decided that we wished to stay in Somerton and with the grateful intervention by Mr. Davis and Alan Ball, we were able to do so,  as  I was  offered a job with Davis Builders as a Mechanic and a helpful rent arrangement on the flat where we were living in.

 With the wife working at the “Little Shop” in St Cleers Way and I was working for Mr. Davies, after a little time of this situation, we were able to buy the ground floor flat next door to ours. 

 During that time  I saw the building of the first part of  Parklands Way with workers who were both fun and friends even to this day. 

  Some time in August 1975  I made use of my engineering background and went to work for the then Westland Helicopters, joining a band of Somerton residents on the  ‘Works Coach” doing shift work, another group of workers who I am proud to call friends.

 I worked for that company for 12 Year’s leaving in 1989 (ish). During that time we moved into a  house in Parklands from Newcross.

 During that period along with my friends working at Westlands. I suggested we re-established the Somerton Cricket Club after watching some exciting games on the BBC, then getting heavily involved in the then “Playing Field  Management  Committee”. 

With the group of  “Westland  Friends” we fund raised and created the all new “Cricket square” with the guidance  of the Westland  grounds man.

 As the mover and instigator of the project I was tasked to work on the playing area and happily became the ‘Groundsman” for the pitch and the outfield. This deepened my involvement with the organising committee on the playing field where I represented the Cricket Club.

 That committee was both dynamic and  visionary for the future sports and recreation facilities for the then “Somerton Parish”.  Sadly some of those with 20/20 eyesight in that period are no longer with us, but their legacy lives on in the form of the most  vibrant and award winning Somerton Sports ground at  Gassons Lane. In that time I am proud to be able to say that with those friends  and people I knew we were able to build the  1st social extension to the Changing rooms in the form to the Social area with bar.  now known as the Main Bar.

Many a Sunday was spent with volunteers from my Davis Builders days and like minded members of Somerton sporting groups. I was proud to be made the “Project coordinator” with the support of all those people who were like minded. 

As I  look at the inner walls of that first social area, I remember the hours  we spent laying those bricks… and the people involved, to my mind hero’s every one of them. 

From that first seed of a project, a huge tree grew, that is now the envy of many a parish and town council. I continued to serve on the then Somerton Sports Club in various roles as its Vice chairman and Chairman seeing the growth and further building of the ‘New Lounge bar and Snooker Club” under the leadership of John Milner.

 Many a night was spent at the “old snooker club” in the town centre  and walking to the Pub to get a pint. Then it all changed and moved to Gassons Lane, as did the Somerton Bowls Club. I remember putting the case forward for Somerton at public meeting  of the newly formed club when they decided to use the Gassons Lane site. 

After a short period as the Sports Club chairman, with a manic refurbishment of the main bar, all done in 14 days culminating some time later arranging with my neighbours in Sevenacres, “For we had moved again in December 1984”…… 12 Sevenacres, Somerton. TA11 6HF .  The first meeting of those interested in Rugby was arranged, from which the Somerton Rugby club was born. 

I had left Westland helicopters in 1986 and went to work for an international tooling company from Austria based in Warrington, my role again was to open up a carbide tooling market in the west country from Gloucester down to the tip of Cornwall. This time  it was  a rather successful time, taking the area t from Zero to ten’s of thousands  pounds of annual sales . Only matched by the miles I drove each year.

In 1992 I left the company having decided to work for myself as a Professional Photographer. None of which was possible without my wife graduating from the little shop at  St  Cleers, utilising her qualification as a Dental Nurse and began working in  Broad Street under Mr Keeton, then  some time later moving onto  nursing  getting a degree and working at Yeovil Hospital and for the NHS for  28 years.

 Due to working for myself and growing a fledgling business I had to withdraw from my community activity. 

I have had the pleasure of  being the local photographer for  Families, schools and businesses

Starting my studio in Sevenacres and concentrating on that proved a valuable lesson in all things business, working for the likes of  Haynes Publishing in the early days to becoming a Director of the national organisation of the Master Photographers Association. as well as the SouthWest Regional Chair of the MPA

In 2019 I am fully retired and I wish to use all that experience to serve again within the community.  I sat on the Buttercross and Ilchester Patient Participation Group (PPG ) as a full member and as of April 2019 my wife also sits on the PPG as a full member.  

Having watched  all the the machinations of parliament from 2016 with greater  and  greater alarm and  how  the  current political class have ignored and abused those that made an honest  choice , when they were given the chance to do so, 

The  question of  leaving the EU, in the referendum  showed that huge numbers in the country were in favour of  leaving.  Only to find 3 years later we are still members and no real progress has been made to fulfil the wishes of the voters.

 In 2019 I became a supporter of the “Leave means Leave” campaign as a donor and supporter. Then in April 2019 I joined the  newly formed ‘Brexit Party” as I was both worried and concerned that  “UK Democracy”  was being thrown onto the political scrape heap. To me it  was time for those elected by the people, where held to account by the people.

In May 201 9 I stood for election to Somerton Town Council , I am happy to say (boast even ), I came third in that election of the 15 seats available. Now in 2024 I currently am the Chair of the  Land & Properties sub committee as well as a member of Services and Structure Sub Committee. I am proud to say that the members of the current Somerton Town Council under the leadership of  Councillor Dean Ruddle are in My Opinion outstanding in working for the residents of the ever expanding Somerton.

Who and what I have voted for

At 69 I have had the ability to vote for 41 years, I have always voted in all elections here is a brief History of those votes.

National Elections

1974 February. I voted labour:- National Turnout 78% 39.7m Voted

1974 October. I voted labour:- National Turnout 72.8% 40m Voted

1979 May I voted Conservative:- National Turnout 76% 42.1m Voted

1983 June I voted Liberal:- National Turnout  72.7% 42.1m Voted

1987, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2010 I Voted  Liberal in all these elections.

2015 May  I voted  Conservative:- National Turnout  66% 46.4m Voted

2017 June  I voted Conservative. National Turnout 68.8% 44m Voted

20?? Whenever!!  Its unlikely I will ever vote for any of the above Again

  due to their absolute betrayal of Democracy. Politics needs to Change.

2019 Conservative  just to get Brexit done.

By-election for Somerton and Frome July 2023 I voted UKIP

To send a message to metropolitan elite and Westminster.

Referendums1970’s to 2015

 EEC referendum to Join I voted Yes.

 EEC Referendum to Stay a Member I voted Yes

European Union Referendum 2016 I voted to  Leave. 

Local Elections I have always voted for candidates that I new. ( many elections were  never contested )