THERE are several unique, special legacies that relate to sporting families throughout history.

Looking at the modern era, you have the Charltons and the Nevilles in football, the Williams sisters in tennis and Hills in Formula One.

But for Pirates, the name Middleditch has been synonymous with the club for the past seven decades.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of Ken Middleditch’s debut in the famous skull and crossbones – Poole paying the sum of £800 to bring him to Wimborne Road.

A remarkable 385 league and cup appearances, 2,962.5 points, 39 full and 28 paid maximums, as well as six track records then followed in a glittering career for the Pirates legend.

While Ken spearheaded Poole’s voyage from the third tier to the top flight - and even came back out of retirement to top score again and become team manager during the 60s – son Neil was born with Pirate pride in his blood.

With 340 league and knockout cup appearances and 2,380.5 points for Poole himself, the charger had followed in his dad’s footsteps before retiring from racing to take over the family business at Bailie House.

Still Pirates’ team manager to this day having guided them to eight top-flight league titles, Neil is only too proud to keep representing his family name, synonymous with the skull and crossbones.

“The customers come into my shop over at Bailie House and so many people say ‘oh I remember your dad racing and you racing’. It makes me very proud,” he told the Daily Echo.

“I have the little card stuck up in my office about that £800.

“Dad came to Poole and the rest they say is history. Our family has been involved for 70 years and it’s a fair old time.

“There is so much he went through. Even now I am still finding stuff out.

“With modern technology people are putting up pictures and articles I have never seen before and it’s great to see.

“It’s touching, particularly the way dad is now with dementia and everything. I go into the house and there are all these pictures of him racing and I get a bit nostalgic. I look back and I am very proud of him.

“People still speak very highly of him and that makes me very proud of the legacy he left with Poole speedway – hopefully, I will leave that same legacy.”

Ken recorded the Dorset club’s highest average and points total in five different campaigns with Pirates, spearheading the line-up in 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955.

He would also earn international caps against the likes of Australia, America, New Zealand and Sweden.

Neil would go on to seal the British Under-21 title in 1975 as well as touring Australia, America and race in almost every European speedway nation – as well as a having two spells as manager of Team GB.

But it was when Neil first started competing as a teenager, he realised the impact his father had on the sport.

“My aim was always to ride for Poole Speedway,” he added.

“I never had anything in my sights apart from doing just that. I was fortunate to ride for the club for 10 years and had a great career with them.

“When I was 16, dad drove me everywhere. Those days going round the tracks, everybody knew him and it was good to see.

“I did take on board what dad said, obviously, because he had the experience. We had differences of opinion but he was hugely supportive of me.

“He helped me out financially in the early part of my career immensely. I certainly couldn’t have done it without him.”

The pair are rightly both recognised in Pirates’ Hall of Fame, Ken’s induction coming in 1994 before Neil was included four years later.

In 1998 they took to the Wimborne Road track together – an image Neil still cherishes to this day. Whatever the future holds, the name Middleditch will always be part of Pirates’ legacy.

  • Additional reporting and archive pictures supplied by Gordon Day.