THIS week the News Telegraph can exclusively announce the newly elected chairman and vice-chairman of the Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Committee.
Civil engineer Brell Ewart has been voted into the coveted position, with Ashbourne businessman Nigel Brown elected as vice-chairman.
Committee members say they are delighted with the outcome.
The new appointments follow this year’s surprise announcement by current chairman Philip Tomlinson that Shrovetide 2010 would be his last game in charge.
The announcement was met by standing ovations at both pre-game luncheons.
The role of chairman and the newly created role of vice-chairman were decided at the committee’s recent annual review meeting and Mr Ewart admitted Mr Tomlinson will be a “hard act to follow”.
He said: “Philip Tomlinson has held the position with considerable distinction for 19 years and the game owes a great debt of gratitude to him.
“When the history of the game is written covering the last few decades he will be recorded as one of the greatest chairmen and also players.” Speaking about his appointment by his peers, Mr Ewart described it as an “emotional moment”.
He said: “I’ve done many things in my time, I’ve run my own company for 30 years and been chairman of two railway charities, but none come close to the honour of being elected as chairman of the Royal Shrovetide Committee.
“One mission statement I intend to help the committee stand by is that we will always ensure the game is played annually and as close as possible to the way it has been played for hundreds of years.
“Shrovetide is a mediaeval game played in the 21st century and we want to set the scene for the game to be played for the next 100 years.” Away from his Shrovetide duties, Mr Ewart is chairman of one of the town’s major employers, Whitehouse Construction, which is based on the Airfield Industrial Estate.
Mr Brown is best known as the charismatic owner of Nigel’s Butchers, in Dig Street, but he has also recently taken over the reigns at Dig Street pub and restaurant The Bridge.