I would like to thank everyone for the lovely tribute to my dad. We had a good laugh and a few tears too! I'm sure he will be up there having a good chuckle! Its great to know he had so many friends. We still can't believe he has gone.

On behalf of my mum Shirley and myself and my brothers Ian and Mark, I would like to thank everyone again for their cards and kind words at this difficult time. All are welcome to the funeral.

Julie Smedley  (Walker)

                                                                             Pete Walker 

In as much as a small village cricket club high up in the Chilterns can achieve legendary status, Pete Walker who has died at the age of 72 is its true legend.

He joined the club as player at the age of twelve, this in an era remember when there was no such thing as organised junior cricket with armies of teams and squadrons of coaches. Pete’s association with the club never ceased whether as player, electrician, clubhouse-builder, putting hours of work into the ground, as umpire, scorer or consumer of countless pints of ale.

Indeed it is hard to know where his greatest contribution lay. Next season’s captains will not have Pete to fall back on as umpire or scorer, bar profits will be down and simply, Pete will not be there in a corner mischievously provoking anyone within earshot.

He was an electrician by trade and it seems he spent as much time helping friends out as he did earning a living. Forever willing to help other people he did spend time away from cricket and from doing odd jobs as he loved his garden and in particular his vegetable plot which he tended for years.

As a cricketer he was an opening batsman who nurdled rather than whacked the bowling. As a bowler, his captain could rely on his accuracy to lock up one end with over after over of slow-medium swing.

After playing, he umpired for years for the 1st X1 and then when panel umpires were appointed (“why would I want to join the panel?”) he carried on for the 2nd X1.

He cut a unique figure as umpire. Slightly hunched, weather beaten even in mid-summer yet with powers of concentration that we probably underestimated.  In fact, because of his sense of fun he was easy to underestimate: he preferred a good argument to a good compliment.

A beer and a fag were never far away and sooner or later if you looked closely at Pete umpiring at square leg you would see one hand in a pocket, smoke slowly seeping out, rather like some youth who has nipped out for a crafty fag just as the headmaster walked by.

He was not afraid to make a decision though and could get that hand out of the pocket quickly enough to give an LBW, mostly against Shakey occasionally against Geoff, in the knowledge that he would be taken to task for the rest of the day and then in the evening over increasingly large glasses of wine and multiple pints of ale. It is tempting to think that that was why he kept giving them out. He relished such arguments with his mates in the evening sun. He would listen and then say: “Well it’s your fault for getting your leg in front” and off it would all go again.

Eventually Pete was unable to umpire any longer but it took a lot for him to stop. He was written off at least once after collapsing on the pitch but he came back for more and even though his eyes were beginning to fail – an old joke really that he argued with but enjoyed nevertheless – he scored many times in recent years.  Two years ago he had to spend the day in the scorer’s box at Wolverton with their notoriously difficult lady scorer; an “irresistible force versus immoveable object” situation. Afterwards she coped by complaining bitterly about him while Pete coped by downing a couple of pints … a good outcome all-in-all.

Pete attracted loyalty and exasperation in equal measure. Loyalty because that’s what he gave and what he deserved in return, and exasperation because in some ways he refused to change with the modern world.  Here are examples of both.

He had not driven since the day when as a young man he witnessed an horrific accident. He mostly relied on the goodwill of friends for transport, willingly given even if this presented the odd challenge when we realised he was still in the clubhouse at 10.30 and we had to find someone who had abstained that evening to get him home.

Anyway about five years ago I was waiting to turn into the road from Kimble to Risborough. It is busy, fast and has no pavement.  I waited while an elderly man walked past swinging a supermarket bag. It was Pete of course. Unbelievably he had walked eight miles to visit his mate Bill Potts who was in hospital at Stoke Mandeville and he was now making the trip back. In the bag was a radio and he was listening to Test Match Special as cars went past at sixty miles an hour.

I probably learned more about Pete in that trip than at any other time, but even that was not much and although grateful for the lift I rather think he’d have preferred to have walked the last five miles. Either way, making the long journey for his friend was the most normal thing for him to do.

His own health was an enigma and his laissez-faire attitude exasperated those close to him. He made countless visits to doctors and hospitals in recent years but only under extreme pressure from family and friends. He could never tell you quite why he had gone or what the doctors told him was wrong or what they could do about it and when he was going back. (A pint solved most things.)   I can do no better than repeat an email from Bill a couple of years back:

I was at Peter's yesterday and he told me that despite the

phone call from surgery he has not been back or contacted them.

Just as I was leaving, Shirley came.

She asked me: "Has he told you about the mess up at the surgery."

"Yes," I said. "They didn't call him for two hours so he walked out

in a huff. And although they phoned him he hasn't been back. 

He should have gone back, got himself treated and then raised a ruckus."

"The reason he wasn't called," said Shirley, "was because the silly old

fool hadn't signed in to tell them he was there. Everyone has to sign

in either by telling the desk or pressing the electronic indicator".

I agreed. And I now think this is common practice in most surgeries.

It keeps a check on defaulters.

Pete then came into the kitchen. I piped up: "Shirley says the reason you

sat there all that time and weren’t seen is because you didn 't sign in.

Why didn’t you sign in?"

"I shouldn't have to," said Peter. "They know who I am."

He had so many scares that when he survived the ‘hoovering-the-stairs-and the-hoover-fell-on-his-head-knocking-him-out’ incident it seemed – as Brian Hobbs has written on our website that he really was indestructible. Even last summer the day after reports of a heart attack, he was at the club bar with a pint: “Well I’m alright now” he said, as if affronted by the suggestion that a heart attack followed by an evening on the tiles was not perfectly normal.

This time though it is for real. Friends of all ages have expressed their shock.  He seemed destined to be at the club forever and he will be greatly missed; we may only realise quite how much next summer.  The club sends its sympathies to Shirley and the rest of his family.

"What sad news!...Taking in his medical history and proneness to accidents, I thought he was infallible...Pete has now gone to tend that great strip in the sky." - Brian Hobbs.

"This is devastating news." - Rik and Sharon Dryden.

"A man who loved cricket. More than 60 years a stalwart of Bledlow Ridge CC. Always there as a junior and senior player;  always willing to help maintain the ground and facilities; a member of the  "famous six"  - as they were called  - who worked through a long hard winter of snow and ice to transform a shed and bar into the pavilion we have today;  years of giving again as an umpire in the Mid-Bucks and Cherwell leagues and honoured with a Life Membership. More poignantly, we all have our own unforgettable stories of Pete Walker - the man who built his own epitaph."  - Bill Potts

 "I have lots of fond memories of Pete (many of them hilarious) when he and dad were playing.  Above all, I remember he always said it as it was, or as he saw it, whatever the circumstances. He was a lovely man and always willing to help a friend.  I expect he'll be watching cricket somewhere on Cloud 9." - Shelley Cook (nee Potts).

"A big loss...I hope, nevertheless, we can continue to argue about the old bugger on a sunny evening at the Ridge with the sun on our backs and a pint in our hands." - John Rolfe.

"As a former member and someone who still tries to keep up with events at the club I am sorry to hear about Pete Walkers passing. I along with many of the older members and former members will have fond memories of Pete and his dedication not only to BRCC but to cricket in the area too."- Pete Joyner