Saturday, 26 January 2013

Alan Lawson

Great to hear from past secretary, chair and president Terry Frost. Our list of past speakers brought back many memories for Terry ... and he was also able to solve a mystery for us. Who was 1982 speaker A.W. Lawson? Thereby hangs a tale ... so we'll let Terry take up the story. 'At the time,' he writes, 'I was chairman and Harold Cook was secretary. Harold called me the day of the meeting to say that our speaker, the late Peter Roebuck, would not be coming to Hull due to illness! How could Harold and I possibly find a speaker for that night? After lunch we were faced with the daunting task of cancelling the meeting. Then, through my office door at Fenners, in walked Alan Lawson! Alan had just arrived from Heathrow, having landed from South Africa that morning.

Alan, a director of Fenner South Africa and a close personal friend, was steeped in South African cricket at a time when it was was ostracised by the cricketing world. He was chairman of Old Edwardians cricket club in Johannesburg and, even though desperately tired, agreed to talk about grass-roots cricket in the country. In his quiet, unassuming manner, he really did explain the ‘other side of the coin’, focusing his talk on what was happening at junior club level across all boundaries.

Alan held us all spellbound, and it was almost 10.00 p.m. when I finally closed the meeting to let him to go to bed! I still correspond with him from time to time and a couple of years back Old Eds honoured him by naming their ground ‘The Alan Lawson Oval’. 

I wish you all well. The ERCS was an important part of my long cricketing life.'

Old Edwardians are the old boys of King Edward VII School in Johannesburg, one of South Africa's leading cricket schools. Famous names abound, among them current Proteas captain Graham Smith, Neil McKenzie, Ali Bacher, Ray Jennings, as well as three-time British Open winner Gary Player.