New roads around stadium to be named after Robins legends
Updated 7:59am Wednesday 14th May 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
FORMER Swindon Robins legends are set to be immortalised after it was confirmed this week that several streets in the new housing development around the Abbey Stadium will be named after them.
Following the efforts of a speedway fan Lee Richardson, Bob Kilby and Malcolm Holloway will each have a street named after them when the development is completed.
As a result, once the houses are completed, adjacent to a new speedway stadium, they will contain Richardson Road, Kilby Crescent and Holloway Close.
Each of the men spent a number of years riding for the Robins but all tragically died in recent years.
Ellis Byrd, who now resides in California, used to work for the Robins and wanted to find a way to remember some of his heroes.
He first put the suggestion online to see what the response would be before contacting the council.
Ellis, who was brought up in Stratton, said: “The response was huge. “As a life-long supporter of Swindon speedway and speedway in general, I thought it would be a great idea to approach the council with this request. “The least they could do is say no.
“One day I opened an e-mail from an address I did not recognise and to my total surprise “It was an agreement for me to research former Swindon riders that have passed on that had been a major part of the history of the Blunsdon track.
“I spent weeks collecting information from the internet, people on the Swindon Speedway Facebook page and from memory. “The list of names included riders, promoters, track staff, managers and even a couple of greyhounds and owners. The list was pieced together and then I wanted clarification that the facts were correct.“ Ellis was later delighted to receive confirmation the three most popular choices had been selected.
The families of the riders were asked for approval, which they gave, after which the council gave confirmation. The son of Bob Kilby said he was ‘elated’ his father was to be remembered in this way.
Lee Kilby said: “I think it is a wonderful tribute to riders who gave so much to entertainSwindon.
“My dad was born and bred in Swindon and most of his 19-year career was spent riding for the Robins, so I’m over the moon he will be remembered this way.
“Ellis approached me a few months ago about the possibilty of naming some streets.”
“On behalf of me, my sister and my mum we would all like to say thank you to Ellis because without him this would not have happened.”
The move has been welcomed by Swindon Robins manager Alun Rossiter.
He said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic news. They all gave such fantastic service to Swindon so I think it is right they are remembered in this way.
“It’s also good that the speedway riders are finally being recognised by the town for everything they have done.”
Persimmon Homes are the developers behind the construction of the houses and worked with Ellis on the street naming.
Pauline Fletcher, the sales and marketing director for Persimmon Homes Wessex, said: “We can confirm that the street names have been agreed. It is wonderful when our developments are able to reflect the local area and its history.”
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