The Blog

A new sports shop for Melton

Melton has been without a sports shop – until now that is – for about eight years so I’m delighted to be picking up the baton.

But what makes this more special is the fact I am following in the footsteps of a Melton institution – Allsports.

This fondly remembered shop served the town and borough for more than 30 years, and for much of that time it occupied 6 King Street where Melton Sports has now taken up residence.

Following an appeal in the Melton Times I have gleaned something about its story, the people who worked there . . . and a devastating fire.

Allsports started life in Sherrard Street in the late 1960s (where Manor Oven is now) and was owned first by Vivien Packingham-Walsh and later Martin Burton, a prominent local councillor who was Mayor in 1980-81.

Bill Icke was the manager from 1967 until his retirement in 1988 and was affectionately known as ‘Mr Allsports’. Mr Burton’s wife Margaret also worked in the shop along with staff members Nancy, Mavis and Peta and at one point in the late 1970s Allsports also had another shop in Park Road.

In King Street Allsports occupied two floors. It had everything local families needed sporting-wise and its customer service was second to none.

The business faced its biggest challenge following a blaze, believed to have been started by burglars, in April 1988. The fire was the biggest Melton had seen since the Swan Porch had burnt down a couple of years previously with the damage estimated at £150,000.

But Allsports was determined to rise again like a phoenix and the business carried on in temporary premises in The Mall before returning to King Street. It later moved to the Bell Centre, only closing when Mr Burton retired in 1998.

Mr Icke’s daughter, Denise Moody, told me: “My dad lived for his job at Allsports. Sadly, like Mr Packenham-Walsh and Mr Burton, he is no longer with us but I know he would have been the first person on your doorstep on opening day to shake your hand and wish you well. Good luck with your new venture.”

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