Saturday, 10 December 2011

Happy Hundredth Birthday Albert

I've just had a life affirming experience.  I've just been to Chapel Fields Care Home to celebrate Albert Wells 100th birthday.  Albert was in fine form and was thoroughly enjoying himself with his family and friends.  Albert grew up in Nottingham, is a Notts County fan and after a stint as a fire fighter and time in Devon came north to Frodsham with his family.  Albert told me his secret for a long life is doing what he was told to do.  That's doomed me then! 

We had a great chat about football.  Albert was a referee and famously refereed an FA Cup game between Ilkeston Town v Rochdale in 1951.  The story is so great it is worth telling here...

'Rochdale, two goals up and desperate to hold on to their lead, cleared the white ball high out of the ground where it became lodged in an adjacent Elm tree. The gathering gloom necessitated the use of the white ball, the only one Ilkeston owned. After more than ten minutes delay, during which time all sorts of methods had been tried to retrieve the ball whilst a mini pitch invasion took place, the referee decided to continue the game with a standard ball which was almost invisible in the darkness. When the full time whistle was blown there was considerable confusion because many people thought that the match had been abandoned. Meanwhile, the white ball had been rescued from the tree but the referee reported Town to the FA because he believed that they had deliberately tried to avoid getting the ball back. The charges were dropped. The following season saw the club sport a new badge depicting the ball in the tree and this became the club emblem for many years.'

You couldn't make it up! 

There was a wonderful celebratory atmosphere in Chapel Fields as his birthday coincided with their Christmas Fair,  Andy the home manager was dressed as Father Christmas!  I had a fantastic time and met 3 retired Councillors in my travels too!  

I spoke with Sandra - she is one of two people who organise the entertainment for the Chapel Fields residents. She told me how grateful the home was for the Town Council's £5 voucher scheme - that money can go a long way in organising entertainment.  Some of the residents used their vouchers to have a meal at the Community Centre a couple of weeks ago,  others have gone shopping with theirs.  Incidentally my wife was in Merricks this afternoon and saw a £5 voucher being spent there too!  Absolutely brilliant - exactly what we intended the vouchers to be used for.

I'm also delighted that Chapel Fields will house a community public access defibrillator from January 2012.  That will make 5 in Frodsham - more about that when we get to it!

So how should the Town Council commemorate a 100th birthday.  I asked Anne, our office manager to ask our local business for ideas for a suitable gift - once we'd set the budget.  Anne chose well - a silver salver suitably engraved.  So if you know any other centenarians in Frodsham who'd like the Mayor to turn up on their birthday - let me know!