Tributes paid to Gordon Bull - hugely respected in Banbury's cricket and hockey communities

Gordon, aged 80, passed away on August 8 after a battle with cancer, with his family around him.
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Banbury sports clubs have paid tribute to Gordon Bull, a doyen of the regional world of both cricket and hockey.

Gordon, aged 80, passed away on August 8 after a battle with cancer, with his family around him.

His sporting prowess first really came to light when he began playing for Warmington C.C. before even becoming a teenager and then, in his early teens, regularly opening both the batting and the bowling as part of a skilful duo with John Neale.

Gordon BullGordon Bull
Gordon Bull

Gordon's playing career lasted some 30 years, during which time he won the Banbury and district batting and bowling averages a number of times, including both in the same year.

His love of cricket lasted throughout his lifetime. Once he finished playing, he became an umpire for Cropredy Cricket Club, in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association, umpiring across the leagues

"Whilst he relished taking charge of fixtures such as the Airey Cup final, the most important thing to him was for cricket to be played between two sets of players battling it out on the pitch, before forming life-long friendships in the pavilion," said his younger son Matthew.

Gordon's cricketing roles were many, varied and heavily committed - ranging from being part of the grounds team at Horley C.C. to administrational roles with the Banbury and District Cricket League and John Knowles Indoor Cricket League.

Not only were these roles often a thankless and unseen tasks, they also led to significant sums of money being raised for much-loved local charities including Frank Wise School and Katherine House Hospice, the latter where he spent his last hours.

Gordon's paralleled involvement in sport was in hockey. Introduced to the sport while playing for Alcan. He was a member of Banbury Hockey Club for more than 50 years, holding every committee position, representing all teams and going on to become a Life Member.

A key supporter of the move to merge the men's and ladies' clubs in the late 90s. Gordon, along with Mike Clement, founded the junior section, which not only produced numerous international players, but scores of current and former senior club players.

He was also an avid supporter of the First XIs and witnessed every major success of those teams, including national titles and various promotions.

"More than that though, he travelled all over the country to support the club through thick and thin. Always the all-important mainstay of the side-line. The term "Gordon's Army" was synonymous with the First XI of this century," said Stuart Armstrong, Banbury HC chairman.

From 1997-2021 Gordon ran the Banbury Hockey club bar, where he fast became the 'face' of the club. Ever present for all teams and their guests, he was on hand to provide hospitality and support for players and umpires alike.

“He was a lovely man who was always very welcoming to me and my colleagues, whenever we visited Banbury. I can see him now taking the top off a bottle of ale for me," said Steve Godwin, Southern League senior umpire.

In recent years, Gordon travelled to Portugal, India, America, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong. Cricket still played a large part in his life even when abroad and he was especially delighted to watch as England win the Ashes in Australia in 2011.

A proud family man, Gordon would travel anywhere for his children, especially if it was to watch them play sport. Gordon - lovingly known as 'Grumble' - leaves a widow, Marian, three children and six grandchildren.

His funeral takes place at St Laurence Church, Shotteswell on August 22 at 12.30pm.

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