A BRIEF HISTORY OF NORTH DEVON A.C.
We are very grateful to our Club President, Eric Francis, for sharing his memories of the beginnings of North Devon Athletic Club .....
In 1979 Barnstaple Athletic Club, which had had a long period of inactivity, was resurrected and restarted by David Griffiths a newly qualified senior coach.
I personally used to go and watch occasionally, and sometimes helped with training as my youngest son was a member and competed in his love, Cross Country, and also middle distance running on the track. As officials were needed, as still is the case, David asked if I would take the exam. I did and the dye was cast.
The only running track at that time was at Park School. We used the PE rooms for training in Winter, and their grass track in Summer, what one would call undulating. I recall the school being very accommodating and also let us use their Cricket Pavilion for changing. We had a good relationship and respected each other. We continued in this way for several years growing in number and stature.
In that time I had several spells as Chairman. With Committee approval, NDAC looked for more competition and to put North Devon on the map, we joined the Western League and South West league where the Avon clubs officiated. I became Chairman of both, also of the County Devon League as Secretary for nine years, we were getting there!
We decided to think about 1989-1990 to try and build our own track locally, and, with the good auspices of North Devon Council, local Businessmen a steering Committee was formed as to the site and feasibility.
We had a great meeting at the Leisure Centre with backing of the Management, Linford Christie and his coach, Angela Littlewood of Southern of England AA (in her role as development officer) and Club members. We could not help feeling how good Linford was and how much time he gave our represented young athletes.
After that period the Braunton site was chosen. Devon Education gave the site and funds were being raised through various sources, we were on our way with a great team. If I recall correctly the costs all told, including equipment was £412,000. Quite an undertaking , but it was achieved.
The opening (inaugural meeting) was in May, 1991.
Because the track was for all in North Devon, we became North Devon Athletic Club.
We are proud of our club.