Wrangle over park name

Ripley town council have installed new play equipment on Cedar Road Playground. Mayor cllr Alwyn Bridge and deputy Mayor cllr Roland Emmas-Williams.
Ripley town council have installed new play equipment on Cedar Road Playground. Mayor cllr Alwyn Bridge and deputy Mayor cllr Roland Emmas-Williams.

A famous footballer, an inventor and two doctors are jostling with a former councillor for the honour of having a park named after them.

Labour-led Ripley Town Council want Geoff Carlile to be remembered with the opening of a play area on Cedar Avenue. He died in 2009 after many years on local authorities.

The suggestion needs the approval of Conservative-controlled Amber Valley Borough Council but has already provoked a range of other nominations. Alf Strange was playing for Marehay Colliery when he was spotted by a football scout. His career took him to Plymouth, Sheffield Wednesday and 20 England caps, including three as captain.

He later returned to home town Ripley, representing the club in non-league football. He died in 1978 aged 78.

Conservative Cllr Ron Ashton suggested Mr Strange but said people could also consider the Hutchinson family, who were leading members of the Scout movement.

“These are people who have helped children for 60 years. And Alf Strange was a good footballer who played for England. This is a non-political town council and there are more deserving people who have done good things free. They should be considered,” said Cllr Ashton, who opposed the idea of using Cllr Carlile’s name.

Retired journalist Oliver Booth has written to the borough council suggesting doctor Robert Ryan, who came from Ireland in 1919 and who served the town for many years. He is thought to have turned down an honour shortly after World War Two.

His son, also named Robert, continued to care for residents around the town for many years until he retired.

Mr Booth, 79, said the town should also consider honouring William Brunton, who became chief engineer of the Butterley Company at the age of 31 in 1808.

“He invented the first locomotive which powered steam legs and pushed trucks. This was before the work of Stevenson and operated at a lime works in Crich.

“Brunton is not widely known but his work was very important,” said Mr Booth.

The town council is to urge the borough to honour Cllr Carlile, who served on Derbyshire County Council from 1981 to the year he died aged 65.

Labour Cllr Janice Gregory said:”The heart and soul of Ripley was Geoff.

“I would not say he worked 24/7 for Ripley but it was not far off. It would be very fitting for someone who did as much as Geoff.”