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From a hotspot for tourists to a wooden fortress

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

  • 09/02/13 Board fitting in Ashbourne for Shrovetide - Town centre, Ashbourne Boarding up Ashbourne shops ahead of tuesdays Shrovetide game - Andrew Redfearn with sons Drew and Josh

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FOR 363 days a year, Ashbourne is a tranquil market town which draws in tourists from home and abroad.

While we pride ourselves on keeping the town appealing for tourists, there are two days a year when we adopt a slightly different look.

Shops suddenly replace their attractive window displays with huge lengths of timber with some shops opting to completely encase themselves within a wooden fortress.

In the days leading up to this year’s game we caught up with joiner Andrew Redfern, who is responsible for protecting 22 of the shop fronts in the town.

Mr Redfern said: “We have been doing it for the past 20 years or so and we cover all around the town — our biggest jobs being the windows at the Corner House and Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

“The big rush comes on the Tuesday as some shops don’t want us boarding up their doors until noon so we sometimes have to do their windows first and then go back around and do the doors.

“We store most of the shop boards at our workshop and start digging them out a few days before the game.

“Over the years it has started to get easier as we have now started to write on the boards so we know which piece goes where.

“We go out in a team to do the job — starting on the Saturday morning before Shrovetide.

“Working with me is Carl Spencer, and my sons Josh Redfern, 19, and Drew Redfern, 18.

“Josh is at university studying sports science and he comes back for Shrovetide to play and to help and my other son Drew is an apprentice who works for me.

“They both love the game and play for the Up’ards whereas I’ll normally keep up with the game in the pub —after you have boarded up 22 shops you need a good drink”.

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