George Clark

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of George Clark, a life-long supporter of cricket in Thurrock and wider Essex.  He passed away on Sunday 2nd September 2012 after a short illness, aged 85. The funeral took place on Wednesday 3rd October at Chelmsford Crematorium, Writtle Road, CM1 3BL.  Donations welcome to MacMillan Cancer Research.

George ClarkGeorge was born in Barking in 1924, and served in 4th/7th Dragoon Guards 1945-1948, both in World War Two and Palestine.  He moved to Thurrock from East London in 1968 and joined Shell cricket club via Geoff Cole, a close friend gained from the long standing fixture with Tennyson cricket club, for whom George played in his younger days.  In 1973, George joined Stanford le Hope cricket club as an umpire (along with Geoff) and he took over the Team Secretary’s role in 1975.   He started to attend umpiring lessons at Grays Hall in Orsett Road in 1974, which was run by Alf Crowley (Orsett CC) and Len Martin on behalf of the Thurrock branch of the (then) Association of Cricket Umpires.  Len Martin was on the First Class Umpires List and, coincidentally, was Geoff Cole’s uncle.

George excelled as an umpire after receiving excellent training and he won the Sims Award for the highest marks in both the written and oral umpire examinations; he qualified as a full member of the Association of Cricket Umpires in 1975.  He joined Gidea Park & Romford cricket club as a league umpire in 1977, by which time he started umpiring Essex second eleven matches and some non-first class matches for the full County first eleven.

Around this time, he became an instructor for the Association of Cricket Umpires and became one of their top examiners, as well as becoming a scoring instructor.  George was also a vice-president at both Stanford le Hope and Gidea Park & Romford cricket clubs and a president of the former Thurrock & District Cricket Association.

On several occasions, he was called to stand as a replacement umpire in first class games, which included, in July 1992, a televised NatWest second round match between Essex and Lancashire at Chelmsford.  Nearly 650 runs were scored that day and Essex won the thrilling contest by just one wicket and with just one ball to spare.  George also stood in another Essex v. Lancashire County Championship match at Castle Park, Colchester, several years later. George Clark with Alastair Cook ECB OSCA Presentation at Lord's 2009On this occasion, he was presented with a photo montage signed by all the players.

George umpired on many tours and cricket weeks for the Crossed Hearts (1974-1981), Palmer’s College in 1978 and 1979 while son Andrew was a student and also Harlequins cricket club; an invitation to join the Minor Counties’ Umpire panel followed.  After more than thirty years in the industrial paints business, he joined Essex County Cricket Club as an employee in 1982, spending most of that time as a dressing room attendant and latterly as a steward – he ‘retired’ a few times before calling ‘Time’ in 2011.  He toured most of the cricket-playing world with Essex, as an umpire in the West Indies, to New Zealand with Brentwood School, as well as joining Essex Supporters’ tours to India, South Africa and Australia.

In 2009, George was a most deserving recipient of an ‘OSCA’ (Outstanding Service to Cricket Award) from the England and Wales Cricket Board, for his life-long service to the game. The award was presented, fittingly, by Alastair Cook (pictured left).

George leaves behind a son, Andrew, himself a member at Gidea Park & Romford, a daughter, and five grandchildren.  He will be sadly missed by us all.