Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

MALCOLM (‘MAC’) POLLARD – R.I.P.

OBITUARY

MALCOM (‘MAC’) POLLARD, who has died aged 85, was a former St Peter Constable, who in 1994 originated the ‘Green Lane’ network that at present covers ten parishes.  

The very popular West Show, which was held regularly in St Peter from 1998 to 2012 and used to attract up to 10,00 visitors, was also his creation.   

His desire to foster a community spirit, such as in the revival in 1993 of the Battle of Flowers parish entry (St Peter achieved the Prix d’Excellence for its float the next year), helps to explain why he launched both the Green Lanes scheme and the West Show.  

Speaking at the conclusion of his term as Constable in 2001, Mr Pollard said he had two mottoes and two general principles. His two mottoes were: ‘St Peter leads the way’ and ‘Honoraries do it for free.’ Together, they provided a unifying theme for his many separate achievements during his time in parish and public service: his pride in his home parish and his fierce defence of the Island’s traditional honorary system.

His two general principles were: ‘I love to see people enjoying themselves’ and ‘I want my parish to be united’. 

Mr Pollard said: ‘I enjoy seeing people happy, such as seeing them at the West Show, or enjoying Parish celebrations, strolling in the Green Lanes, or participating in the parish entry for the Battle of Flowers. That is also why I have enjoyed my time on the Sports, Leisure and Recreation Committee so much.’

Some of the other achievements that marked his term as Constable included an extension to the Parish Hall, the re-thatched and re-furbished shelter for the Beaumont cannon and the awards received for the lighting of both the cannon and the parish church.

As far as Green Lanes are concerned, St Peter certainly did lead the way: the concept of lanes with a 15 mph speed limit to benefit pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists was so well received, that in 1996 Jersey Tourism was awarded a Silver Unicorn by The British Guild of Travel Writers for sustainable tourism, and he found himself on national TV explaining the concept.  Part of his idea for Green Lanes was that the branchage should be done gently and carefully in the interests of preserving the hedges’ biodiversity – an idea that in the 1990s was somewhat in advance of its time. 

The West Show evolved for two reasons. His initial wish, as a new Constable, had been to have a St Peter fête, but he was also concerned about the future of parish cattle shows. The old Three-Parish Show (St Peter, St Mary, St Ouen) was dying, so his idea was to have a new four-parish show, to include St Brelade, buttressed with the more general attractions of a country show, providing main arena attractions and ‘something for everybody’.

He said: ‘I was surprised to bump into a friend at the Show, looking at the cattle – I had thought he had no interest in cows. He told me: “I wouldn’t come to a cattle show if you paid me, but I’m here to see the other attractions. Now that I’m here, I’m looking at these lovely-looking animals – tell me about them.”

‘I was delighted to hear that of course. Also, in the crowds who come to the West Show, there might be a young lad with no farming background who could have his interest in farming awakened by the experience of seeing the cows – and who might, as a result, become in due course a dairy farmer of the future.’

The biennial West Show, although always very popular, did not survive a very unseasonable storm in July 2012 which all but flooded out the show ground. This disaster was compounded afterwards by uncertainty about whether or not housing development on part of the showground site might take place. There was no full-scale show after that year and at the West Show Association’s annual general meeting in 2019 it was decided to wind up the association. 

Speeding motorists were a category excluded from his wish for people to enjoy themselves. He arranged for the Island’s Honorary Police to be trained in the use of hand-held radar guns. Another category of people he felt should not be enjoying themselves were those who did so at the expense of the Parish by fraudulently misleading the welfare system.  He was known on occasion to don a false beard and cap and to use his wife’s car to follow somebody he suspected of claiming welfare while working.

He was passionate about the whole Honorary and Parish system, a fact he made quite clear to Sir Cecil Clothier at the time of the ‘Clothier Report’ some years later, when he told him the removal of the Constables from the States would be the end of the Honorary system in Jersey.  Sir Cecil said to him ‘You mean the Honorary Police?’ He replied: ‘No, the whole Parish System.’

Malcolm Cedric Pollard was born on 21 April 1935 in Guernsey. He was 5 months old when his father died during an operation.  His mother subsequently remarried and the family moved to Jersey, evacuating to England shortly afterwards before the start of the Occupation.

On their return he attended Victoria College (Bruce House). He excelled at sports including boxing, swimming and shooting and went on to captain the Jersey Water Polo team.  After leaving school at the age of 18, funds did not permit him to follow his career choice and study to become a vet. Initially he worked in agriculture in the UK, but subsequently upon his return to Jersey he secured an apprenticeship with a local carpenter, H B Davies.

He went on to become a partner in a building firm but in 1961 came a complete change of career when he became manager of the L’Etacq Hotel.  When he took over the Hotel it was a little run down and he spent the first winter renovating the bars and replacing much of the ballroom floor.  In addition to his manager job, he would often do turns in the hotel’s cabaret show, singing, being a stand-up comedian and drumming.

In 1969 he returned to farming and moved to Alexandre Farm in St Peter, a move which would eventually lead to his involvement in honorary service, which would span 21 years.

In 1979 he was approached to join the Honorary Police and he was sworn in as a Constables Officer in 1980. Later in that in the same year he was nominated as a Centenier to complete the few remaining months of an officer who had resigned.

A few months later he was nominated for a second term. As a Centenier he was respected both by his officers in St Peter and his fellow Centeniers across the Island.

During this time, he also undertook tattooing for the Herd Book, which was the cattle registration system prior to the present system of ear tags.

In 1992 he was asked to stand for the post of Constable of St Peter by a deputation to his home of 150 leading parishioners.   

Shortly after his election he held a horse-drawn Visite de Branchage which was a tremendous success and combined his love of horses with his role as Constable.  He could often be seen in his horse and trap in the lanes of St Peter – it was something he truly enjoyed. He was always a keen horseman and at one time a member of the Jersey Drag Hunt and an amateur jockey.

In 1998 he extended the Parish Hall to incorporate a new entrance with a lift for those who were unable to make it up the stairs for Parish Assemblies and other events.

He became vice-chairman of the Comité des Connétables in February 2000 and was elected chairman in September 2000.

In the States Assembly he served on many committees, including Sport, Leisure and Recreation, the Gambling Control Committee and the Prison Board, on all of which he served virtually throughout his career in the States. He also served on the Tourism Committee for two terms and held other committee posts.

Senator Terry Le Main had lodged a proposition for a fun train to run from St Helier to St Aubin.  It was known that there would be heavy opposition from the Public Services Committee, so he asked Mr Pollard to present his report to the States, knowing that he would almost certainly draw in those additional votes that he needed.  He was correct, the proposition was approved and so ‘Terry the Train’ was born.

His most proud achievement in the States was persuading the States Assembly on 8 June 1993, just over a year into his first term of office, to approve the introduction of Green Lanes for the benefit of both residents and visitors alike. The first Green Lane, La Verte Rue, was inaugurated on St Peter’s Day 1994 by the Lieutenant Governor; once again, a horse and carriage was arranged to drive the Governor and his wife along the lane.

He retired from the Assembly in June 2001 and was able to dedicate his time to his horses, sheep and other animals. He also commentated at Island cattle shows and continued to take an active interest in the Parish, organising the West Show, attending Parish Meetings, assisting with issues around Val De La Mare and offering advice.

It was only fitting that he was brought to the church for his funeral service by horse-drawn van, making his last journey along the same lane, La Verte Rue, which had been inaugurated as the first Green Lane in 1994.

Mac Pollard has been described as a genial, sociable man, with a wide range of interests including music, dancing and many sports. His love of Jersey’s rural aspect was combined with trying to retain, wherever possible, what might be saved of the older, more rural, more sociable and slower-paced Jersey that in so many ways seems to have disappeared.

Mac Pollard was predeceased by his son, Kevin; he is survived by his wife, Teresa, and two daughters, Nicola and Carmel and their families, to whom RURAL magazine extends its sympathy.

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