Not just a local businessman, as many of you will know, he has some other hats that Alan has become known for in and around Brackley. Perhaps the most widely known is the Brackley Online Post (BOP) which he has produced (with some editorial help from retired journalist Neil McAdam) for more than 10 years.
It’s a weekly e-mailer delivered and personalized to close on 1000 subscribers about upcoming events and newsworthy items taking place each week in and around the town. Alan started it because he wanted to publicise an event he had become involved with and there wasn’t an obvious communications vehicle to do it especially following the demise of the local free newspaper, the Brackley Post.
So he created his own and very quickly lots of interest groups, societies and venue owners saw the potential for valuable free publicity and have inundated Alan with details on their forthcoming activities ever since. It’s entirely free and absorbs considerable time and effort on the part of Alan and Neil each Thursday to put together but everyone loves it and we shall be proudly featuring the updates on our sister sites Living in Brackley and Visiting Brackley very shortly. If you want to find out more now just check out the Global Mapping website or follow the Facebook page via this link.
Alan is also a dedicated environmentalist and conservationist and is proud to have been appointed the Chair of the Brackley and district Wildlife Trust for several years now. The Trust which consists of several permanent members and loads of volunteers undertakes tons of valuable work cleaning up and preserving nature locations and protecting them for wildlife to thrive and the general public to enjoy. Lots of the work is done in association with the Brackley Town Council ‘Green Wheel’ project. Fine examples of their work can be found in Brackley at Jenny’s Pond near to St Peter’s Church and Pocket Park adjacent to St James Lake, and at Farthinghoe Nature Reserve. Again, check out the Global Mapping website for more information.
Another area of interest which townsfolk may be becoming increasingly aware of is the ‘Dogs Allowed’ scheme, the idea for which came from Alan’s wife Tracy. As caring dog owners (daughter Chloe is very much into obedience dog training having appeared at Crufts several times with family pet Ziggy) the family are often unsure whether an establishment is open to allowing pets to enter or not and often err on the side of caution rather than risk causing offence. So Tracy’s idea was to introduce a traffic lights scheme whereby businesses can use coloured notices at entrances to signal their dog tolerance – green being Dogs Allowed of course. Several businesses in and around Brackley have already joined up to the scheme (which costs around £30 to join and which also comes with advice notes etc) and the couple are hoping that it’s a scheme which finds welcome favour with dog-owners and businesses alike and expands naturally with its own website under construction.
Finally, Alan admitted that he is something of a closet impresario. Having always been a keen fan of stage performance of all kinds (not least of Tracy’s singing talent – which is all too rarely heard publicly – and Chloe’s musicianship), Alan and Tracy organised a Fringe Festival style event a few years ago in the Town to much acclaim. ‘It was fantastically rewarding’ said Alan ‘but it required huge amounts of time and effort, which was pretty exhausting. We also had several acts performing outdoors so was very susceptible to weather conditions. All the financial exposure was down to us personally and whilst we loved doing it, we’d need to find a way to limit our personal risk to repeat the exercise.’ Well it seems to us that Brackley is very much an events and festivals town these days and we’d love to see the Fringe resurrected. Perhaps the town’s new public spaces at the Town Hall and Egerton Hall and the existing space at the Old Fire Station could be turned into perfect venues to support a Fringe style festival – lots of performances across many venues – we suggested to Alan. ‘Very possibly’ he said but first he’s looking to host a musical event this summer to test the water again.
Brackley Fringe can be seen in the video section on this website – well when I can work out how…
So that’s Alan Smith The Man Who Put Brackley on the map turned Greatest Showman. It’s got the makings of a great show in itself.
The Smith family- Tracy, Chloe and Alan Smith and of course Ziggy!