Phil Gillam: No surprise at acclaim for Shrewsbury
Here is the clock, the Trumpton clock. Telling the time steadily, sensibly, never too quickly, never too slowly, telling the time for Trumpton.
Readers of a certain age will recognise these words from the opening sequence of the wonderful 1967 children’s television show, Trumpton, which told of the gentle comings and goings in the most sleepy and idyllic of towns.
And when friends of mine wish to tease me about my love of Shrewsbury, they’ll often ask: “So how are things in Trumpton?”
Of course (because we live in the real world) Shrewsbury isn’t – and can never be – as perfectly charming, as unerringly delightful and as eternally peaceful as the county town of Trumptonshire.
Unfortunately, things do happen in the real world that are slightly more serious than a cat getting stuck up a tree.
Nevertheless, our beautiful and historic town definitely has a lot going for it, and it’s no surprise that, once again, it has charted high in a list of the best places to live in the country.
Town Clerk Helen Ball says the accolade has come as no surprise.
“It goes without saying – it’s just validating what all of us who live and work here already know,” she said.
“We have a beautiful town, a great landscape, rich heritage, and the people all ‘gel' together. The quality of life is exceptional.
"When I go to other places, I have never found anywhere that I thought was better than Shrewsbury.
“People who come and visit come with no expectations but they always leave with a sense of wanting to come back. People come as a day visitor and end up ultimately moving here.”
Helen said Shrewsbury’s secret was striking the perfect balance between the old and new, and offering “something for everyone”.
She added: “We are an hour from Manchester and Birmingham and have a direct rail link to London, but we are surrounded by beautiful countryside.
"We have Britain’s favourite market, we have always won Britain in Bloom, we are a Purple Flag town - all these things show we are doing something right.”
Well said, Helen.
Remembering Ken Mulhearn
And now a change of subject ...
Now, let me be clear from the outset: I’m not for a moment going to pretend to be a dedicated follower of Shrewsbury Town Football Club – such a claim would be an insult to all those true and loyal fans who go to the matches every week and can name every player on the pitch.
Having said all that, I do like to keep an eye on how the team is doing, I love to see them do well (as they most certainly are doing this season), I have extremely fond memories of going to matches with our dad many years ago, and of course I always wish the lads well as they are, after all, my home town football team.
And so even I (an armchair supporter, if you like) recognise the name of Ken Mulhearn, a Shrewsbury Town legend who sadly passed away last week at the age of 72.
Goalkeeper Mulhearn made more than 400 appearances for Town between 1971 and 1980. And he won the division three title under player-manager Graham Turner in 1979.
Mulhearn arrived at Shrewsbury from Manchester City in 1971 and had been part of City’s top flight championship-winning side in 1968.
Paying tribute to the man, his former boss Graham Turner said: “He was a terrific character about the club. Not only as a player but as an ambassador in more recent times.
“Ken had a tremendous character and sense of humour. He was a ‘mickey-taker’ but he could give it out and have it given back at him.
“He was self-deprecating, sarcastic with a sharp sense of humour. He will be sadly missed.”
We salute you, Ken Mulhearn.