I was very sad to learn yesterday that John died last Sunday at the Beechwood Care Home in Northallerton where had had been living for the last couple of years. He was 88 and had recently been suffering with vascular dementia. A small family funeral is to be held on November 9th and his son and daughter hope to hold an open reception for friends when circumstances allow.
Apart from his sunny disposition and great enthusiasm for our game, John will be remembered by our counties bowlers for several reasons.
Many used to enjoy his poems published in our Handbook every year between 2000 and 2016. These formed part of a catalogue of poetry that he composed over many years including an annual booklet containing a poem for each month. His first offering is reproduced below.
In 2004, he was the driving force in getting several clubs together to form our only summer league – the White Rose. Those involved will remember their inaugural end of season match held rather unusually in the Lookers car showroom in Northallerton! He was also instrumental in initiating the visit of the England team for the 2 matches held at the New Earswick IBC in 2007.
Between 2007 and 2009, he served as our Vice Chairman during which time he was instrumental in the launch of our second county team which he led in a mainly non-playing capacity, preferring to motivate his players as a team manager rather than as a playing captain. During this time also he took it on himself to apply for a large grant from Sport England which enabled us to buy our first two mats and winder and funded laptops for 3 of the Officers, supported several training sessions and also funded the counties trophy display cabinet in the Galtres centre.
John’s legacy in our organisation is therefore assured and he will always be remembered very fondly by those who knew him. Rest in Peace, John
Final match – Final wood
There’s a breathless hush in the hall tonight,
A fiery mat and a level score.
The jack’s right back and the way through is tight
Does the Skip use weight? Or attempt to draw?
So with one wood left he inspects the head
To find a path to that crucial jack,
But the bowls are off, that his teammates led,
And there’s only away woods at the back.
As the lonely Skip takes his final look,
He knows a win means the League is nailed,
And his mind slips back to the chances took,
And the points they had lost, when the gambles failed.
As that final wood left his hand, to trace
Its curving arc to the spot he’d picked,
The whole room hid its collective face,
‘Til a cheer went up and a shout “It’s wicked!”
So they urged it on through the maze to rest
Jack High. Was it first or second wood?
But the measure proved that it was the best
And the League was theirs! The whole room stood.
But the Skip knew well he played not for fame,
Or the winning Trophies tawdry gleam,
Nor the hope of praise (with the risk of blame).
No! He played for the pride of his Club and Team.