Mystery of community award

AN old silver trophy is the cause of a mystery at Over Allotments in Winsford.

For 84 years the Dempster Challenge Cup has been awarded by Winsford Town Council to the best kept allotment on the site at Moss Bank, but green enthusiast have been left miffed by the origin of the cup and the identity of its namesake.

John Malam, current holder of the cup, said: “I’ve been looking through back issues of the Winsford Guardian from the 1920’s and I can’t find any mention of Mr Dempster.

“I have come across a Miss Dempster, who was President of the Winsford Amateur Theatrical Society in 1924 - the year the council set up the allotmments but I’ll have to dig a lot deeper to see if she’s connected with the trophy.”

The sterling silver cup, made by Ollivant and Botsford and hallmarked by the the Birmingham assay office in 1924, was first won in 1926 by Joseph Bratt and has been competed for by generations of Winsford allotmenteers.

Alan Warburton, Town Clerk of Winsford Town Council, said: “It was originally awarded by the Allotment Committee of Winsford Urban District Council.

“It’s the Council’s oldest community award, and will be presented again this year in July. In all its years it’s only ever been won by 26 diferent people.”

And as well as trying to trace the elusive Mr Dempster, John would also like to know about the trophies previous winners.

He said: “For the first few years both first and last names were engraved on the trophy, but form 1935 onwards only initials were given for Christian names.

“My Guess is the trophy has only ever been awarded to men – but until I find out what the initials stand for, it’s only a hunch. It’s the people who won it between 1935 and 1970 who I’m keen to name in full.”

Some of the names included on the trophy include W. Lever, six-times winner in the 1960’s, and before him H. Burgess, J. Done and H. Ikin.

If you can can help John in his search for Mr Dempster and past winners of the trophy you can contact him on 01606 863540, or email john@johnmalam.co.uk

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