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Tributes For Former Groundsman

Tributes For Former Groundsman: Tributes have been paid to the former head groundsman of Bangor on Dee racecourse after he passed away on Wednesday, July 10 aged 82.

John Malam, who will always be associated with the North Wales course, where he was affectionately known as Mr Bangor on Dee, was from the neighbouring village of Overton on Dee and began working at the track back in 1971.

Tributes For Former Groundsman

The Leader’s horse racing reporter Arthur Shone said Mr Bangor on Dee never really went away after that first day, with the family name still going strong with both his sons now taking care of the track.

He said: “Horseracing was his life and Bangor on Dee racecourse was the centre of his world. In 1980 he was promoted to head groundsman following the retirement of Tom Osborne and continued in this full-time position until he retired in 1997.

In his final year as head groundsman the racecourse was awarded the Neil Wyatt Award for ground staff, an award I know that made him a very proud man and especially of his team, which he always referred to as ‘his lads’.”

Mr Malam was restless in retirement and continued to support his beloved Bangor on Dee racecourse and carried on for many years afterwards as stable manager and running the yard on race days, often in this role he would arrive first thing in the morning to have a coffee with his team.

Arthur Shone added: “I have known John Malam for over four decades as a friend and I always used to enjoy his company, he also used to build the fences at Aintree racecourse and on certain courses between the flags.

“In fact, he shared my passion for point to point racing and was very knowledgeable about the sport he loved, he used to describe the sport as real racing.

“I have so many happy memories of the man, one was at the now defunct Flagg Moor racecourse out in the wilds in the Peak District that used to have one meeting a year on Easter Tuesday, a racecourse that used to hold a members race over stone walls, with a spare change of clothes mandatory due to the adverse weather changes at the track.

“I arrived early at the meeting and met up with John who was about to walk the course in glorious sunshine, so I dug out my wellingtons and joined him half way around it rained of biblical proportions, when we got to the last hundred yards there was hail stones followed by a snow blizzard.

“John turned around to me said, “This is what point to point racing is all about” – I remember having to get my car towed off the racecourse at the end of the meeting, happy times.

“He will be sadly missed by his many friends in racing, which I was happy to be counted as one of them.”

The Malam family tradition continued when his eldest son Andrew became head groundsman at Bangor on Dee when his father retired in 1997, a position he still holds today and in 1991, Andrew’s brother Brian started as assistant groundsman to his brother and remains part of the team to this day.

Lifelong friend and racecourse manager Jeannie Chantler said: “His hard work and dedication are his legacy. Thank you, John, from all at Bangor on Dee racecourse.”

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Search For UK’s Best Park

Search For UK’s Best Park: The Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park, 2019 is now open for a public vote to select the nation’s favourite local park. A total of 364 public nominations for parks and green spaces across the UK have been made – each one a much-loved part of its local community. Now it is time to choose the winners via an online public vote at www.fieldsintrust.org/best-park until noon on Monday 19th August.

Voting opens to coincide with “Have a Field Day” on Saturday 6th July, the annual celebration of parks and green spaces. Over 250 community-led events will engage thousands of people across the UK, people are coming together for picnics with their friends and neighbours, celebrating local parks and green spaces and joining a movement of fellow park users across the UK who want champion their parks and protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Search For UK's Best Park

Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that legally protects parks and green spaces in perpetuity. The UK’s Best Park Award recognises the role that parks play in our communities, supporting mental and physical health and bringing people together. The charity is concerned that many parks and green spaces are under threat and are at risk of being lost to development or a cycle of decline and disappearance. Last month Fields in Trust published research which revealed that over 2.5 million people across Great Britain live more than ten minutes’ walk from a park or green spaces. With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, there is the risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more being sold off or developed.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: “Our parks and green spaces are a vital part of UK community infrastructure. We know that they provide benefits to the physical health, mental wellbeing and community connections for people that use them, so we are delighted to see a record number of nominations for the UK’s Best Park award and it is encouraging to see so many people organising picnics with neighbours to celebrate how much they love their local park.  Fields in Trust is committed to protecting these valuable and much-loved parks and green spaces for future generations to enjoy.”

Nominations include small community gardens and large nature reserves, sports fields and playgrounds, each green space valued by its community and nominated by the regular park users who love to walk, run, cycle, relax, picnic and play with their children in the UK’s parks. The UK’s Best Park 2019 will see the park with the most votes in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shortlisted with the UK’s Best Park, 2019 announced in mid-September.

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Innovation Award Back For 2019

Innovation Award Back For 2019: SALTEX exhibitors are now able to submit their entries for the 2019 Innovation Award – allowing show visitors the chance to witness a stellar line-up of brand new products and services that are pushing the boundaries in groundscare innovation at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

Since its launch at SALTEX 2017, the Innovation Award has helped to highlight some of the most ground-breaking, innovative products and services within the groundscare industry.

Innovation Award Back For 2019

All of the submitted entries are evaluated by an independent panel of judges before a final shortlist is devised. The finalists are then given an opportunity to impress judges and visitors in a seminar theatre on the first day of SALTEX as representatives from each company take to the stage to deliver product presentations.

Entering the award is an unmissable opportunity for exhibitors as every innovation will be featured on the SALTEX website and in the official show guide. Being shortlisted as a finalist offers even more exposure as they will be given dedicated time to showcase their product or service in front of industry giants, judges and influencers and can draw even more of a crowd to their stand.

The worthy winner will be presented with the coveted award at the exhibition and will receive a dedicated news article in post-show reports.

The winner of the SALTEX 2019 Innovation Award will join previous winners: Rigby Taylor’s Intelligent One autonomous robotic line marker and Fleet Line Markers’ MAQA line marking machine were joint winners of the first ever SALTEX Innovation Award and in 2018 Sherriff Amenity’s ground-breaking new app, PrecisionPro, picked up the top prize.

To enter the SALTEX 2019 Innovation Award, please visit www.iogsaltex.com/innovation-of-the-year-award/

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/IOGSALTEX

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ISEKI SXG323 For Truro School

ISEKI SXG323 For Truro School: ISEKI UK & Ireland, distributors of ISEKI compact tractors and mowers alongside their local dealer Nigel Rafferty Groundcare based in Redruth, Cornwall recently sold an ISEKI SXG323 19hp High-tip to Truro School, a day & boarding school for Girls & Boys aged 3-18, to help maintain their grounds, formal gardens and over 40 acres of sports fields to the highest standard.

Since starting with Truro School as Head of Grounds Joshua Stebbings has worked hard to improve and further develop the grounds that are key to offering a broad range of co-curricular opportunities to the students of the largest coeducational independent school in Cornwall.  Part of his recommendations included purchasing a new collector mower and having previously used an SXG19 there was no question as to what machine Joshua would request.  Commenting on the machine Joshua said “the SXG19 never missed a beat, with no issues and over 2,500 hours on the clock the quality and reliability of ISEKI cannot be beaten.  As part of the buying process we had demonstrations from three other products but the quality and value for money of the ISEKI SXG range allowed us to make a very easy decision”.

ISEKI SXG323 For Truro School

Speaking about their local dealer, Joshua commented; “I use Nigel Rafferty Groundcare for many products and services, the aftersales received is just as good, if not better than the initial sale which is invaluable.  Nigel is always so helpful and knowledgeable, I know should we have any problems, which just doesn’t happen with an ISEKI product, I would be fully supported”.

The SXG323 is used by all the grounds team at the school, the ergonomic design, extra leg room and easy dial-in height of cut adjuster provide excellent operator comfort.  The SXG323 is used across the lawns, around the wildflower meadows and in the gardens throughout the site.

“The blowerless superior collection of the SXG323 means that even when the ground is wet you can still collect with the same finish enabling us to be as productive as possible.  Then when the leaves have dropped in the woodland we can also collect these using the SXG323, saving valuable time instead of manual raking, this use has been just as essential to us as the grass cutting and collecting.  The efficiency of the pickup provides a degree of compaction maximising the 550 litre capacity of the collector.

A high-tip collector was chosen on the SXG323, with its 1.93m maximum lift height for emptying into a trailer, it allows us to be as efficient as possible enabling us to carry on with mowing instead of wasting time going back and forwards to the compost heap due to the size of the site.

“Our SXG323 is the perfect addition to our fleet of grounds maintenance machinery, without doubt the quality and reliability, along with year round use cutting grass or collecting leaves in the wet or dry, will make this piece of equipment invaluable for many years to come” explained Joshua.

For more information, visit: www.iseki.co.uk.

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MM The Best For Shrewsbury School

MM The Best For Shrewsbury School: Shrewsbury School Grounds manager Andy Richards claims that Limagrain UK’s MM brand of grass seed has proved time and time again, to be the best mixtures for the school’s sports pitches.

Set on the banks of the River Severn, Shrewsbury School is one of the country’s leading co-educational independent schools for 13-18-year-olds and attracts boys and girls from all over the country.

MM The Best For Shrewsbury School

Academic excellence aside, the school prides itself on a strong sporting ethos and boasts some of the finest teams in UK education. The main sport in the Michaelmas (autumn) term is football, in the Lent term fives and rugby, and in summer cricket. During term times, pitch usage is seven days a week and with over 800 pupils, many of whom participate in sports, it is safe to say that the pitches encounter a lot of wear.

It is for this reason that Andy is very particular in choosing a grass seed that stands up to such high usage.

“Three years ago we made the decision to change to Limagrain’s MM60 on our football pitches,” he said. “We were experiencing a lot of disease, especially on our first team pitch, and I think we sprayed four times to tackle fusarium. With this in mind I thought it was worth trying something different to see if we could find a seed that was better for our site.

“We trialled MM60 on one pitch against the seed that we were previously using over the course of a season – to see which one was the best. Results showed that there was a lot less disease from using MM60 and it stood up a lot better to the really high usage that we have. The pitch that we trialled it on had 112 uses during a twelve week period and it felt like the MM60 provided a much more upright leaf which seemed to protect the pitch more than our previous seed.

“It was an easy decision to change to the MM60 and we implemented it across all of the football pitches – we didn’t even need to spray it for any disease in that first year.”

Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed is renowned for producing an excellent playing surface. It is a 100% Ryegrass formula which is perfect for renovation and divot repair, has a high disease resistance, fantastic aesthetic qualities and offers extremely fast germination – which is boosted by the inclusion of Headstart GOLD®.

Developed using the latest scientific findings and field experience, Headstart GOLD® is a natural revolutionary grass seed treatment that ensures rapid germination and is perfect for enhancing performance on grass seed coatings for sports fields, golf courses, lawns and amenity turf.

For 2019, MM60 now includes Limagrain’s new Ryegrass cultivar Annecy which has outstanding disease resistance particularly against Leaf Spot. This along with excellent wear tolerance, density and recovery makes it a very valuable addition to the mixture at a time when plant health and disease management has never been so important.

MM The Best For Shrewsbury School

After ‘Koro-ing off’ the pitches during the annual August renovations, Andy has just 28 days to ensure the pitches are playable for the opening fixtures. Therefore, when Andy sows the seed he needs absolute confidence that it will perform.

“We know that by the fourth or the fifth day MM60 is going to be showing; within seven days it is going to be green, and then between ten and fourteen days we will even look at putting a growth regulator down and encourage it to start tillering and get as deep rooted as possible. MM60 responds excellently – it’s hungry, it’s vigorous, it comes through well and it colours well. The Headstart can also take out the need for pre-seed fertiliser.”

In a similar move, Andy also decided to change to Limagrain’s MM50 for the school’s cricket pitches after his previous seed was not meeting his expectations.

“We were using a different seed on the squares but our recovery was so poor and the pitches were almost dead at the end of two or three games of cricket. We didn’t even trial the MM50 – we just went straight in on a whole square and the difference was incredible. The speed that it came through and the quality of the sward was really impressive. We had no disease through the winter and when we prepared our first wickets with MM50 the following spring – the denseness, the texture of the leaf and the way it cut down to the 6mm we aim for was amazing. The wickets looked good and they coloured up well but the most important thing was that we could water them after four or five days of play and within a couple of days they were almost green again.”

As Andy says, MM50 is ideal for cricket squares and outfields. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round. It is also widely praised for its rapid recovery – something which is incredibly important to Andy.

“With the amount of games we have here, recovery is a massive thing and we have to get them back quickly. MM50 has just proved time and time again to be the best cricket mix in the country.

“Limagrain is a great company to work with. They will come in a few times a year, have a look around and we will discuss things like overseeding pitches or seed mixtures. The service has been very good and I don’t think they could actually do anymore if they tried.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm You can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed

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New Ventrac Package For CGM

New Ventrac Package For CGM: The CGM Group (East Anglia) Ltd is one of the latest landscape contractors to purchase a Ventrac package from Price Turfcare. Supplied by local dealer Ernest Doe & Sons, the package includes a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and Finishing deck.

Managing director Tim Glover and his wife Julie started the business over 35 years ago carrying out grass cutting for the local authority in West Dereham and now provides grounds maintenance, landscaping, arboriculture, facilities management and pest control services to commercial and domestic customers throughout East Anglia. The Group employs over 180 staff working on a wide range of contracts from local authorities, agricultural processors, housing associations, schools and sports clubs through to one-off hard landscaping projects. CGM Group has bases in King’s Lynn, Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough and regularly undertake projects in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.

New Ventrac Package For CGM Group

Explaining the rationale behind the purchase of the Ventrac package, Head of Operations Marcus Glover said,

“We were in the market for a new machine for our contracts with large factories and distribution centres and saw the Ventrac at LAMMA. I spoke to Rupert Price and he arranged a demonstration, which took place in February. It performed really well and we took delivery soon after. At the moment it is used exclusively for these mowing contracts, but we’ll be looking at the Power Rake and Power Brush attachments later this year as we can see more applications that will suit our business. It’s certainly a versatile machine.”

Adrian (Ady) Seymour is the principal operator and has been with CGM for 12 years. Commenting on the attributes of the machine he said,

“This is a great machine for the operator; it’s comfortable, highly manoeuvrable and very easy to use. The hand controls are intuitive and the articulating frame means we can get into tight areas, reducing additional strimming time. A tank of fuel lasts all day and once I’ve finished, I can clean it down with a light pressure washing. The deck flips up almost vertically, so that helps with cleaning, greasing and blade changing. Under the bonnet everything on the Kubota engine is easily accessible and I can easily access the radiator to blow it clear with a compressed air line.

New Ventrac Package For CGM Group

“With its eight-wheel configuration it’s also very safe on slopes and good in wet conditions. The Finishing deck leaves a really nice finish, so much so, that I’ve been complimented by senior managers at several of our customers when I stripe up the roadside verges and entrance roads to their sites.”

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New Toro For Newlands Holidays

New Toro For Newlands Holidays: Newlands Holidays, a family-run caravan park, has recently invested in a Toro Groundsmaster 3500-D to help maintain its 23 acres of landscaped grounds and keep customers happy and coming back.

Situated near the World Heritage village of Charmouth in Dorset and a short walk away from the stunning Jurassic Coast, Newlands Holidays is a popular vacation destination. As such, maintaining the grounds to a high standard is vital says business partner, Rex Ireland.

New Toro For Newlands Holidays

“The appearance of the park is of the utmost importance for our business,” says Rex. “It’s a significant factor in customers choosing to holiday here and it’s essential the park looks its best. That’s a major factor in keeping our customers happy and coming back.”

With that in mind, Rex was in the market for a reliable machine which could easily cope with the undulating terrain, bank cutting and general maintenance cutting around the 23-acre site.

Having briefed his local dealer on his requirements, Devon Garden Machinery brought in the Toro Groundsmaster 3500-D, amongst many, to trial and despite tough competition the GM3500-D’s performance won in the end.

“The performance of the Toro machine was just great compared to the other brands,” says Rex. “It did really well on the banks which was very important as we have a fair amount of undulating terrain. Overall, the GM3500-D showed itself to be a really reliable machine and since it will be used for the bulk of the work here, that was really important. It was clear it would provide the best fit for us.”

The combination of the machine’s ground-following design of each free-floating contour cutting deck and the unique parallel traction drive system means it can tackle the most challenging of terrain in all weathers without scalping. As a triplex rotary mower, the GM3500-D has the added benefit of producing the quality trimming you’d expect from a reel mower as well as the easy maintenance of a rotary mower, something which proved to be a key consideration for Rex.

“We’ve had cylinder mowers before, but they’ve proved to be quite high maintenance,” Rex continues. “With the GM3500-D we’ve been able to move away from that and I can already see that it’s going to save us a lot of time on maintenance.”

“When it came to finding a new machine, Devon Garden Machinery provided us with a range of options and simply put, we chose the best,” Rex concludes. “From Toro, we’ve got a good machine that does the job well and will make sure we’re in the best position for the start of the season.”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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New Importer For Energreen Units

New Importer For Energreen Units: Stuart Taylor International is delighted to announce the official appointment of UK importers for the renowned Energreen remote controlled power units, previously marketed in the UK under the McConnel brand.

The range consists of four different machines the RoboECO, RoboGREEN evo, RoboMAX and RoboPower. These models have been developed to offer customers different solutions in order to address different needs of work and equipping themselves with a wide range of attachments designed to be implemented and managed by these machines.

New UK Importer For Energreen Units

All machines are designed to be used in a variety of areas including slopes, land difficult to reach, swampy areas and forestry conditions whilst making the operators safety paramount.

Stuart Taylor International will be covering the Northern half of the UK and are now offering the full range of pre and post sales services on the Energreen Robo range and attachments. This also includes post sales services on the previously McConnel branded Energreen machines and attachments.

If you would like to discuss the Energreen range of machines and how they can help your business, please contact us on 01254 813175.

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Police Hunt For Golf Vandals

Police Hunt For Golf Vandals: Police are investigating a case of vandalism on two greens at the Crookwell Golf Club.

The incident occurred sometime between 9pm on Friday, May 24 and 8.30am on Saturday, May 25.
Police Hunt For Golf Vandals

First and second hole greens were ripped up by vehicles which were deliberately driven across the golf course.

This is a blow for a volunteer workforce who maintain the course and its 200 members and visitors.

Golf Club treasurer Hal Rickard-Bell estimated that the lost revenue and repairs would amount to thousands.

“How many people does it put off?,” Mr Rikard-Bell asked.

“If you lost ten golfers a week that’s $500 a week, for a small club that’s a lot of knock-on effects.

“For a small business, $50 could be the difference between being a profitable day and a not profitable day.”

The damage was discovered by golf club members on Saturday morning after teeing off at 8am.

“They spun the wheels here [the first green] and drove off and then done circle work down at the second.”

“It’s happened before, but it’s been a long, long time since.”

Every Saturday a competition is held with up to 40 golfers in attendance.

“We touch on a fairly big part of the community in some way or another. There’s a lot of vested interest for a lot of people,” Mr Rikard-Bell said.

The greens director, Tim Reid, will work overtime to have the course ready for upcoming competitions.

“It’ll be a big job for them to solve the problem and have it playable.

“Is it going to be really, really bad in three weeks? I don’t know. It’ll probably be a bit bare.

“Twice a year we core the greens, it’ll take that time to get rid of it.”

Mr Rikard-Bell said the club would happily press charges. “If they’re on their watch list they’ll slip up somewhere, it’s not like they’re super smart.”

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Two Ryder Cup Courses For EcoBunker

Two Ryder Cup Courses For EcoBunker: Working on a course for a Ryder Cup is a great achievement for any golf construction professional. To work on two in the space of a week, though, is pretty remarkable. But that’s what EcoBunker site manager Louis Palser will have done by the end of next week.

Louis has spent the last two days at Le Golf National in Paris, supervising EcoBunker’s part of the construction of the 2018 Ryder Cup venue’s new state of the art practice facility, which is being managed by golf consultant Alejandro Reyes (the former superintendent of Le Golf National). Flying directly from Paris to Rome, Louis moves on to the Marco Simone club, currently under reconstruction at the hands of European Golf Design architect Dave Sampson, in advance of its starring role in the 2022 Ryder Cup. There, for ten days, he will be working alongside EcoBunker’s top construction specialist Llewellyn Matthews installing EcoBunker’s AquaEdge lake edging product on the sixteenth and eighteenth holes.

Two Ryder Cup Courses For EcoBunker

Quite some going for a young man who is new to the golf business. Louis joined EcoBunker last year after studying civil engineering at Salford University, because ‘he wanted to use his construction knowledge, work outdoors and gain plenty of travel opportunities’, and spent 18 weeks last year on the company’s job at the new Dumbarnie Links in Fife, where he rose to be deputy site manager under Llewelyn Matthews. Now, he’s comfortable leading jobs, and has worked on EcoBunker projects in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and France.

EcoBunker CEO Richard Allen says: “With our contracting business growing rapidly we’ve had to invest in new construction management talent, and Louis has rapidly become an important part of our growth.”

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