Obviously a big death is in the news at the moment. How we should remember her? what type of funeral? etc. It’s got me thinking about death (cheery I know) and reminded me of the week I spent cataloging memorial and funeral service brochures. Some of them were moving, some sad, some uplifting. Here are a few of my favourites.
As you may know if you read my ‘Villains?’ a few weeks ago Harold Larwood was a somewhat controversial figure due to the part he played in bodyline bowling. Yet many believed his disgrace was ill deserved and the Rector’s words reflect this in the opening address.
“Harold lived as he bowled – honestly, steadfastly and wholeheartedly. For various reasons, which are now part of the game’s history, he was not always appreciated but despite this he continued his spell with fortitude and preserved his own integrity.”
A very nicely put tribute I think.
I like this one because it’s nice and joyful. I love the picture on the front, it’s so 1930s and reminds me what incredible times this man saw (as well as being an incredible cricketer). I think the cartoon on the back with the umpires signal of ‘out’ is touching and funny.
Unlike the first two, his life was cut short violently and prematurely At just 38 he died in Italy as a prisoner of war from wounds received during an attack on a German battalion in Sicily. Before he went missing in action his last known words were “keep going, keep going” urging his men on in the attack. At first there was hope he might have survived his wounds and be in a prisoner of war camp but word was received of his death and the Telegraph & Argus paid this moving tribute on 2 September 1943…
Wherever good cricket is appreciated, wherever sportsmanship is accepted as an indication of character, wherever men are honoured not because they are wealthy or gifted, but because they are in the true sense of the word men, there will the name of Hedley Verity be ever respected.
(Memorial and funeral service brochures are among the many interesting and quirky items that can be viewed in the Lord’s Museum, Archive and Library. Catalogue available on-line soon.) As well as a brave and well respected man he was a great bowler with the best first-class average in his day and the only man to take 14 wickets in a single day in a test match. His death was a terrible waste of talent.