My Axminster - with Geoff Enticott

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:13 22 May 2018

Geoff Enticott receiving  his citizen of the year award from Axminster Mayor Jeremy Walden. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Geoff Enticott receiving his citizen of the year award from Axminster Mayor Jeremy Walden. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Archant

In January Geoff Enticott became the first recipient of the Robin Cross Memorial Award presented annually to Axminster's Citizen of the Year. Here he explains why he thinks the town is such a great place in which to live and work.

Please introduce yourself:

My name is Geoff Enticott and I have lived in Axminster all my life. After leaving Axminster School I worked with my father and mother for many years in our greengrocers and florists until the bad health of both my parents – my mother with a stroke and my father with cancer – made it impossible to carry on. Since then I have been working as caretaker at the Axminster Guildhall. Over the years I have visited most areas of the country but I am always glad to get back to where I belong.

What is your favourite memory associated with Axminster?

I have no single memory that stands out in my mind but I have many memories associated with the town. Over the years I have been, and continue to be, involved in many of the organisations – Axminster Cricket Club, Cloakham Lawns Sports Centre, the carnival, and many others. The most important of these for me has always been the carnival and I still get a buzz every year just looking at the faces of the children as the floodlit procession passes by. Building these large floats can cost several thousand pounds and every year we seem to lose a carnival club. But despite this and the ever-growing tide of regulations, the great tradition of local carnival continues. I have made many lifelong friends on the carnival circuit and it will be a sad day if it ends.

What do you like most about Axminster?

The thing I like most about Axminster is how friendly most people are. They are always ready to help others. Many people of my generation complain about the young people of the town but I always find them friendly and more than willing to help. It is a shame that society in general undervalues the young and more is not done to create opportunities for them, to keep them living and working in the town. Many people say that there is nothing to do in Axminster – I just say that I cannot find enough time to get everything done. They should just get involved in the wonderful organisations in the town.

What is your favourite shop in Axminster?

Being a chocoholic my favourite shop has to be The Sweet Shop in Trinity Square. For such a small shop, they have a terrific range of sweets that you cannot get anywhere else. When I take my friends’ children in there it takes me ages to get out. Brian and Angie Prior do a superb job there. Running a small shop in Axminster is never easy but in general the local shops do a fantastic job.

How have you seen Axminster develop through the years?

For many years, Axminster seemed to stay the same small market town that it had always been, while surrounding towns such as Chard and Honiton seemed to grow. A lot of people were always trying to blame someone for this but I think that it was mainly due to transport links and the availability of industrial units in the town. This changed when the bypass was constructed, although we are still waiting for a link to the Chard road. Since the bypass, there has been a lot of extra housing locally and this growth can only be good for the town provided that infrastructure such as schools etc follow. The running down of the local hospital has been hard to take but it is a sign of the times – everything gets centralised to Exeter and the small hospitals become little more than nursing homes. This regrettably seems to be happening in all the small towns.

What is your favourite building in Axminster?

This is an easy question for me. Axminster Guildhall is obviously my favourite. When my father was alive he served for many years on the Guildhall Management Committee and he always covered when the caretaker was on holiday. After my father died I told them that I would do it as I know my father would have wanted me to. I seem to have been there ever since. The range of events there is very comprehensive. There is bingo, yoga, a full range of dance and fitness classes and the Karizma Majorettes practice there every week. The Axminster Drama Club and the Axminster Musical Theatre each stage at least two shows a year and there are dances, discos, weddings, tribute acts and famous bands and comedians – the list is endless, there is always something going on. It is a great facility for the town.

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