OTLEY AND DISTRICT MEN’S FORUM

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 Cricket 2nd Innings
Mr Jack Swindells

4th March 2010

Today we received a wonderful and fascinating talk from Jack Swindells a nonagenarian member of our forum. Jack chose to call his talk “A Second Innings”. A more appropriate title would have been “A long innings” even though he had suffered, like many others, the shortest possible innings when bowled first ball by the incomparable Jim Laker.

Aided by the use of computer projected photographs Jack told us of his career in cricket combined with his army service during World War Two and his friendship with Wilfred Rhodes.

Jack’s first contact with cricket was when he was hit on the head with a cricket ball at the age of three on Macclesfield C.C. ground.  This certainly made an impression as his interest in the game has never waned. He started with Macclesfield in 1932 and with the exception of his years in the army played for them until 1952. During his army service in North Africa with GHQ Cairo and in Tel-el-Kebir he played in numerous cricket matches the high lights being the games he played at Gezira Sporting Club on Gezira Island and his unfortunate experience with Laker on the Alexandria Sporting Club Ground. Demobbed in May 1946 Jack continued his cricket with Macclesfield.

His work caused him to move with his family to Burton on Trent where much to his surprise and joy he found that he had become the next door neighbour of one of the world’s great cricketers Wilfred Rhodes. The now blind Mr Rhodes lived there with his daughter and son- in- law. Jack became friendly with the great man and acted on numerous occasions as his companion and guide at Test and County cricket matches.  He and his wife attended Rhodes ’s eightieth birthday party where they read the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s personal letter of congratulations to him. Although Wilfred Rhodes moved down to Bournemouth with his family Jack kept in touch with him until Wilfred’s death at the age of ninety five on 8th July 1973.


Our AGM on 18th March at 10-00am is our last meeting at Otley Civic Centre before its permanent closure.

On Thursday 1st April we will be at our new venue for Adrian Gaskin’s talk about the work of UNICEF. We will meet at 10-00am in the Main Hall of Otley Methodist Church on Boroughgate. This venue is almost opposite the Civic Centre.

Before either of these meetings we have our Ladies Night at 7-30pm on 13th March at Westbourne House for which Tickets are still available at the remarkably low price of £15-00.

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