Friday, 1 April 2016
A chat with a legend
It was from Walter Goodyear. He had lost my number and wanted to let me know something. We speak every couple of weeks or so, anyway, but he had some news.
Walter, who for the uninitiated was groundsman par excellence at the County Ground between 1938 and 1982, is now officially the oldest NCO (non-commissioned officer) of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment. It is the latest achievement by a man who has lived a most extraordinary life.
We chatted for around a quarter of an hour, the conversation ranging from Derby County, to the wickets in the World T20 and some of his wonderful, golden memories of his years involved with the club. His health has been in and out these last few months, but at 99 and two months, that is to some extent to be expected.
He hopes to make the old players day in late May and we talked about some of the people who might be there. Astonishingly, he remembers them all, his recall of players and the events in which they were involved quite extraordinary.
But then again, Walter Goodyear is an extraordinary man.
His memories make up the first interview in my next book, which will be out at the start of June and for anyone interested in the history of our club, they are gold dust.
Consider this. Walter has told me how he remembers Bill Bestwick walking around the ground with his dog in the mid-1930s, when he had a flat that overlooked the ground and brought it down for exercise. This is a man who first played for Derbyshire in the late nineteenth century.
Now that is special...congratulations Walter, on that latest achievement.
Long may you keep racking them up.