Dick Barrie's picture

The concept of “Friends & Family” deals at Shielfield tomorrow – as well as being yet another crackling concept of how to promote speedway meetings – has made me realise just how much of a family concern our club has been over these past fifty-plus years……

We started out as a family business, with Danny and Liz Taylor, joined by son Ken, opening the doors – and when Greg Blair had a few matches for the club forty-odd years later, the fact of his being their great-grandson just emphasised the link.

Family ties have abounded at Berwick ever since.

Doug & Willie Templeton were early stalwarts, with their nephews Bill and Jim McMillan also gracing black-and-gold (34 maximums between the four of them!) down the years.

The Rempala brothers from Poland (Jacek and Marcin) played their part in our history, as did Mark and Sean Courtney, with Mark’s sons Scott and Jamie having more than a little to do with our current operation!

I can’t recall any other brothers being Bandits – I’m sure someone’ll be leaping to their keyboard to prove me wrong even as this is hitting the ether – and bingo, hardly had I typed these words when that bloody smart-bottom Mythman was on the line, reminding me of Craig and John Branney, plus the Comptons, Andre and Benji -- but family ties have brought us three father-and-son couples in the shape of the Grants, Waites and indeed now the Flints.

Two former favourites – Alastair Brady and Colin Caffrey – have seen their sons-in-law (Matty Wethers and Mitch Davey) grace the colours, while Andy Meldrum and Charlie McKinna were followed into the pits by their nephews David and Adam.

The “ones that got away” were the sons of one-time Bandits Brian Havelock and Rob Woffinden. It would have been nice if we could have boasted of having World Champions Gary and Tai wearing the colours as full team members, and although Kym Mauger was a Bandit for a wee while, we never quite got his old man signed up either!

But Berwick has always been a family speedway. Down through the years, generations of riders, officials, workers and of course supporters have enjoyed the ups and down of the life of a true family, and stuck together, like a family should, through times bad and good.

Just as it should be.

See you on Saturday – bring the family!

Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk