Coracle gift a reminder of Shrewsbury Town's rich history
A remarkable piece of Shropshire history has been returned to the county. For years, Fred Davies used a coracle to retrieve footballs which had been booted over the Riverside stand at Shrewsbury Town's former Gay Meadow ground into the River Severn in his coracle.
Now, one of the last ever iconic coracles built by Mr Davies has been donated to the club by the man who owns it.
The one-man boat was built by Mr Davies more than 20 years ago when he was demonstrating coracle building at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm in 1992.
The historic piece has now been donated to the club by owner Tim Speller who worked at Acton Scott during the time Fred was building the coracle and has kept it ever since.
Although this coracle was never used to collect balls from the river, the club gratefully accepted the offer of housing the small boat.
The original boat used is currently housed in the National Football Museum in Manchester.
Brian Caldwell, chief executive at the club, said he wanted to thank Mr Speller for his generous donation.
He said: "The coracles used by Fred Davies are legendary and are a huge part of the history of Shrewsbury Town Football Club.
"To have one of the final ones made is an honour for the club and one we will showcase for the next generation of Town supporters.
"The club is heavily involved in community engagement throughout the county through our charity Shrewsbury Town in the Community and this coracle can be used in projects such as Meadow Memories and various other similar works to promote memories of Gay Meadow and STFC."
The coracle's owner Mr Speller said he was delighted to be able to donate the coracle to the club. He said: "I used to live in Shropshire and I worked at Acton Scott. I got Fred to come and do a coracle demonstration back in the 1990s.
"Back then it was 10 years since his last demonstration and when I bought it off him he told me it would be the last one he would ever build.
"I hope that Shrewsbury Town can make good use of it. Fred is an iconic part of the Town's history and it would be great to see the coracle put to use in the community."
Glyn Price, of the Shrewsbury Town Supporters' Parliament, said the coracle and football club will always be linked.
He said: "It is great to see another element of Shrewsbury Town's important history return to the club.
"The coracle is an iconic part of the club's identity and to have one to use for various projects is a step forward."
"In the National Football Museum is Fred Davies' original coracle so in the football world Shrewsbury Town Football Club and the coracle will forever be linked."