Monday, 25 January 2016

Ken Roe

It is always sad when a good servant to the club passes, so it is with sadness that I note the death of Ken Roe tonight.

He served on the general committee for many years up to the late 1990s and was a long-standing chairman of the ground and pitches committee. Most recently, he was a club vice-president and was, in the words of the club's legendary groundsman, Walter Goodyear, 'a grand bloke'.

I think back tonight to a lovely chat that we enjoyed at the end of last summer, during the game against Leicestershire in September. As I usually do, I wandered around the ground enjoying the vantage point as I did so. Having taken a seat at one of the picnic tables between the press box and the scoreboard, I was joined by Ken, who asked if I had any objection to his smoking a cigar. I didn't.

We chatted about the game, Derbyshire's prospects, his life in Matlock and his time with the club. He told me how, in the years when he did the announcements during a day's cricket, the Derbyshire players used to 'doctor' his notes, especially the scores from around the country. Thus, Nottinghamshire might reach tea on 351, rather than 151, or may go into lunch with their innings in tatters on 70-8, rather than the reality, a more steady 70-0.

I knew who he was, but he didn't know me. Why should he, after all, though our final laugh came when he recalled some of his favourite players.

'Do you know some fella has done a book on Edwin Smith?' he said.

Yes, indeed. I confessed it was me. I told him I would be talking with Edwin at the meeting of the Derbyshire Cricket Society and he said that he hoped to be there. We shook hands and said goodbye as the shadows lengthened on a chilly cricket ground.

Sadly, ill-health meant he was unable to make the talk, but it was a pleasure to spend time talking to him and he will be remembered by many for the very best of reasons.

Rest in Peace, Ken. Yours was indeed a life well lived and thank you for all you did for the club over many years.

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