by Dave RobertsLooking rather like warlords at a medieval jousting tournament this group of civic dignitaries shelters from the sun, and the great unwashed, under their personal awning at the Middlewich Carnival in 1973, which was, as we've already learned, held at Manor Park, not far away from where I'm typing this.
They are (left to right) : Julie and Derek Millington, then (I think) Sandbach Councillor David Lloyd Griffiths(can anyone confirm this?) the then MUDC Chairman Frank Bailey, Mrs Bailey and another lady who may possibly be Mrs Lloyd-Griffiths, separated from her husband so that Cllr and Mrs Bailey can take centre-stage and make a pleasingly symmetrical picture. Behind them is another tier of lesser dignitaries, consigned to the shadows.
Derek Millington was one of our livelier and most effective councillors and I spent long hours talking to him in various local hostelries. I'm sure he won't mind me passing on just one of his recollections of life as a councillor:
Derek was a member of the Middlewich Cemetery Committee (known, at that time as the Burial Joint Committee, or something similar) and it was the policy of members to make periodic inspections of the cemetery.
One evening, after a prolonged period of heavy rain, the committee was inspecting a newly-dug grave which was half-filled with water.
'A very good, idea,' said Derek, 'what you might call a fail safe. If the poor bloke we're burying isn't dead we can make sure he doesn't cause any trouble by drowning him.'
A shocked and offended council issued a stern letter of rebuke to Derek.
I could sympathise, having once received such a letter of rebuke myself for the heinous crime of 'delivering rent books on a Sunday' - a clear case of 'if the Good Lord doesn't get you, the Council will'.
Nowadays Derek and Julie are leading lights in the Middlewich Rock & Roll Dancers, which are always well worth seeing in action. They all dance brilliantly and look fabulous.
Councillor Bailey was one of the last Chairmen of the UDC, if not the last. He remains, to date, the only councillor ever to have chased me up the road after a long and heated argument in the Golden Lion. We were discussing the council's policy of attempting always to have 'the lowest rates in Cheshire' which, I said, was all very well as a policy, but had also led to the council having the lowest number of amenities in Cheshire.
The row got out of hand and culminated in Mr Roberts racing off up Chester Road with Councillor Bailey in hot pursuit. You couldn't make it up, could you?