Ex-councillor’s memory lives on in Heage

Family and friends gathered for the unveiling of a new sign at The Thomas Williams Recreation Ground in Heage to commemorate Thomas Williams, who was a councillor during the 1950's and 1960's. Pictured is Counillor David Williams and the new sign.

Family and friends gathered for the unveiling of a new sign at The Thomas Williams Recreation Ground in Heage to commemorate Thomas Williams, who was a councillor during the 1950's and 1960's. Pictured is Counillor David Williams and the new sign.

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The family and friends of a former district councillor gathered last week for the unveiling of a new sign at the recreation ground which bears his name.

Thomas Williams was a Labour councillor for the Heage ward on the Ripley Urban District Council for over 30 years from the 1930s to the early 1960s.

Family and friends gathered for the unveiling of a new sign at The Thomas Williams Recreation Ground in Heage to commemorate Thomas Williams, who was a councillor during the 1950's and 1960's.

Family and friends gathered for the unveiling of a new sign at The Thomas Williams Recreation Ground in Heage to commemorate Thomas Williams, who was a councillor during the 1950's and 1960's.

The Thomas Williams Recreation Ground, on Old Road in Heage, was built following his death to commemorate his long service to the village.

A Ripley and Heanor News report from the time the ground was opened describes Thomas Williams as someone who took a great deal of interest in recreational facilities and was always ready to help any fellow worker.

His grandson David Williams, who has followed in his grandfather’s political footsteps and is currently a Derbyshire county councillor, was present for the unveiling.

He said: “As far as I’m aware he was never defeated in a council election.

“He was an NUM representative and was sacked in the 1926 strike, resorting for some years afterwards to selling insurance for the Britannic Insurance company, walking from Heage to Ripley.

“However, he was eventually re-employed by the National Coal Board and retired in the early 1960s, dying in January 1966.

“The playing fields were built on a former refuse tip and were named after him, being officially opened in 1966.”

The pitches played home for many years to Heage United Football Club who were a local football side to be reckoned with, rising through the Derby Combination League, Central Midlands Alliance and East Midlands Regional League.

After the club unfortunately folded in 1973 some former players reformed as Derby Sunday Social League team Green Man Athletic who were successful in the mid and late 1970s, winning numerous league and cup competitions.

The new signs cost £1,075 and were designed by Nottingham-based company Viewtec Limited.

The money was donated by Phil Wilde of Albert Wilde Coaches (£500), and the Derbyshire County Council Members’ Community Leadership Scheme via the Heage Carnival Committee (£575).