Supporters celebrate official opening of Sidmouth Town FC extension

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 December 2017

Alan Clarke of the Keith Owen Fund presents a cheque to Andy Argyle at the opening of Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5359. Picture: Terry Ife

Alan Clarke of the Keith Owen Fund presents a cheque to Andy Argyle at the opening of Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5359. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Town councillors, members of the Sid Vale Association (SVA), football club sponsors and members all gathered to mark the formal opening of Sidmouth Town Football Club’s newly built extension on Tuesday, writes club chairman Andy Argyle.

Ken Mortimore at the opening of Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5349. Picture: Terry IfeKen Mortimore at the opening of Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5349. Picture: Terry Ife

The building, which is in the final stages of completion, provides additional space for a mini-gym, storage and workshop areas and is linked to the existing club building at Manstone Recreation Park.

The clubs lease the land from Sidmouth Town Council, the trustees of the park.

Attending the opening were town council chairman Ian McKenzie-Edwards, his fellow councillors, town clerk Christopher Holland, the SVA’s Alan Clarke and Councillor Stuart Hughes, who in addition to being the club’s president provided funds to purchase gym equipment through his Investing in Devon fund.

In his speech of welcome, Andy Argyle reminded attendees that without the support and guidance from the town council during the planning phase, the generous donation from the SVA’s Keith Owen Fund (who presented a cheque to mark the occasion) and the efforts from club members and contractors, the construction of the building would not have been possible.

Geoff West, Stuart Hughes, Ken Mortimore, Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Alan Clarke and Andy Argyle at the opening of Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5341. Picture: Terry IfeGeoff West, Stuart Hughes, Ken Mortimore, Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Alan Clarke and Andy Argyle at the opening of Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5341. Picture: Terry Ife

In addition, he acknowledged the tremendous help from the town council in securing the permission for the club’s floodlights to be installed and how much this had improved fixture management and the way evening home games are staged.

Without council support, these developments could not have happened.

Central to the success of the venture from the club’s perspective were secretary Geoff West, bar manager Gary Bargery, treasurer Pam Pearce and the club’s loyal committee members.

Particular attention was drawn to the efforts of one man, Ken Mortimore, who has single-handedly managed and overseen the building of the extension.

Geoff West, Stuart Hughes, Ken Mortimore, Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Alan Clarke and Andy Argyle at the opening of Sidmouth football clubs new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5335. Picture: Terry IfeGeoff West, Stuart Hughes, Ken Mortimore, Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Alan Clarke and Andy Argyle at the opening of Sidmouth football clubs new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5335. Picture: Terry Ife

Despite an illness requiring a long course of treatment that often left him feeling worn out, Ken carried on with the work over the weeks and months, showing great resilience, courage and tenacity in the face of adversity.

Andy Argyle said it was for these reasons that the building would be known as the Ken Mortimore Building in recognition of Ken’s bravery, sheer guts and determination to complete the job.

As well as being club groundsman and long-time club supporter, Ken is an inspiration to all who know him through his work as a coach in Devon football circles.

Ken’s wife Shirley, his son Ian and daughter Lisa saw the ribbon jointly cut by Ken, Cllr McKenzie-Edwards, the SVA’s Alan Clarke and Cllr Stuart Hughes to officially declare the new building open. A plaque was unveiled to formally name the extension.

Chairman Andy Argyle opening the Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5326. Picture: Terry IfeChairman Andy Argyle opening the Sidmouth Town FC's new extension. Ref shs 51 17TI 5326. Picture: Terry Ife

Cllr McKenzie-Edwards thanked all who had made this possible, recognised the enormous progress the football club has made in recent years and praised its high standards both on and off the field of play.

Mr Clarke said the SVA said was delighted to be a key player such a project.

The evening concluded with refreshments in the main bar and an opportunity to share in the celebration of Ken Mortimore – a remarkable achievement by a remarkable man.

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