Derbyshire County Cricket Club received sad news this week following the death of Club stalwart, Ken Roe. Vice-President, David Griffin, looks back at Ken’s long association with the Club.
Ken was already a serving committee member at Derbyshire when I watched my first game in 1973. He had been elected in March of that year and would go on to record almost three consecutive decades of service to the Club.
He soon found his niche role as a member of the Ground Committee and became Chairman of that sub-committee in 1983, replacing Frank Perks. Having worked with the legendary Head Groundsman, Walter Goodyear, Ken then ably assisted Walter’s replacement, Barry Marsh and later Steve Birks over the ensuing years.
Ken was not just a committee man though; he saw his role on the Ground Committee as a job, and was effectively an additional member of the grounds staff – always clad in waterproofs and wearing Wellington boots when the rains came, and quite happy to assist with the heavyweight tasks like covers and sheets.
Allied to that role was his presence for much of the 1980s and 1990s in the PA Box – formerly the Judge’s Box from the days when horse racing was pre-eminent at Derby. Sharing duties with his great friends and fellow committee members, Les Hart and Brian Holling, they provided spectators with all the information required at a cricket match…and often much more.
Ken’s knowledge was recognised by the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) when they appointed him to the their Pitches Committee, and it was only after 26 years that he finally stepped down from the Derbyshire committee in 1999 at which point the Club honoured him with a Vice Presidency.
Even then, he would still travel from Matlock and wander around the ground on a non-matchday during the summer months, with a black bin bag collecting litter.
He was well-liked and respected by everyone connected with Derbyshire cricket, exemplified by the heartfelt messages of condolence received today from Kim Barnett, Michael Holding and Ole Mortensen. ‘Stan’ Mortensen even offered a handful of specific remembrances mainly to do with pipe-smoking and testing the PA system.
His funeral is sure to be well-attended by Derbyshire cricket people, and it goes without saying that he will be missed, and remembered, for his selfless service over many years to Derbyshire.