When the Athletic Club’s Life-Vice-President Bill Symonds decided it was time to clear out his garden shed, little did he realise his efforts would unearth a trip down memory lane for himself, the club and Long Wittenham.
Bill discovered a small metal plaque dating back to May 1937 when Archibald Bodkin officially donated the land off Northfield Lane to the village for sport. The sign was originally attached to a metal gate at the entrance to the field but was removed about forty years ago when the gate was replaced.
The sign reads: “Bodkin Sports Field. Presented to the village by Sir Archibald Bodkin. 12th May 1937”.
The plaque was in a poor state and needed refurbishment so Bill got in touch with Scorpion Signs of Didcot who agreed to restore the sign free of charge. The plaque will go back to Bodkin’s Field on the entrance gate or placed on the front or inside of the clubhouse.
The sports field is known as Bodkin’s Field after Sir Archibald Bodkin who bought the land for £750 from local farmer Fred Paxman in 1921. Sir Archibald was an influential lawyer and was the Director of Public Prosecutions for ten years from 1920. He lived in London and Street House in the High Street, Long Wittenham for many years. He died in 1957 at the age of 95.