Colin is a lifelong U’s fan, currently based out at Mildenhall and he contacted Coconuts a couple of months ago. Colin and his partner were in the throes of relocating and basically having a bit of a clear out and essentially downsizing the amount of ‘stuff’ they had to take with them. Colin grew up in Chesterton , not quite in sight of the floodlights but not far away. His Grandparents lived on Newmarket Road(and in turn his Dad) just doors up from the Abbey in what were known as ‘Gasworks Houses’ given their ownership by the firm several hundred yards more centrally up the main road.
He then moved to Sawston a couple of years before Utd got in to the League. He then journeyed through various Cambs villages before pitching up in Mildenhall for the first time in the 1990s. A two year ‘distraction’ down in Surrey followed before returning to Mildenhall where he has been for the past 25 years.
Colin has always been a huge collector of Utd memorabilia and in fact was an original member of the Cambridge United Collectors’ Club (headed by Denis Cooper, son of Arthur, esteemed landlord of the Royal Standard in Romsey) which met regularly in the early 90s.
I did know Colin’s name vaguely from his renowned metal pin badge collection which is available to see on the worldwide web and in fact it’s fair to say he inspired me to take up my obsession with the so-called “United in Endeavour” badge, the gold and white circular coffer item, featured as a badge of course on the recent much vaunted 50th anniversary shirt.(see below)
Colin was very keen to donate certain items to Coconuts and our museum and on the strict understanding that nothing would ultimately fall into private hands. And I gave assurances to him they would not. In early March we met in the salubrious surroundings of the car park at Tesco in Newmarket, right by the car wash, and Colin handed over two plastic crates of gear comprising everything from t-shirts, figurines, season ticket booklets, scarves, Marvin the moose dressed as Sooty(!), a signed football, a half and half(guess which), a raft of pen pics and stickers through to Colin’s much lauded collection of pennants going back to 1970 and a CEN Light Blue scrapbook to boot.
When I last spoke to Colin it seems they had settled on a property in Grantham, they had been looking as far north as Sheffield, and he was happy that excursions to the Abbey were still doable from there, whether by car or train, so we haven’t lost him yet! Let’s hope we can all share Colin’s donations on show in “The Story of the U’s” in time to come and, who knows, in League One too.