Walter Goodyear 1917 - 2016

Tuesday 20th December 2016
& News
Written by Danny Painter

One of Derbyshire’s longest-serving former employees, Walter Goodyear, has died at the age of 99.

The former Derbyshire Head Groundsman was born in Hasland near Chesterfield in February 1917, and joined the Queen’s Park, Chesterfield groundstaff at the age of just 14.

Promoted at the age of only 16 to become the Head Groundsman at Chesterfield, it was only a matter of time before he was invited to move south to Derby in 1938.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, Walter joined the Army and saw overseas service in Alamein, Baghdad, Tunis and Anzio, reaching the rank of sergeant, before returning to Derby where he then served the county at headquarters for the next 37 years.

His lengthy service meant that he prepared pitches during Derbyshire’s 1936 County Championship winning season, and during 1981, when Derbyshire won the NatWest Trophy. 1981 was Walter’s final year at the helm, retiring in March 1982 to be succeeded by Barry Marsh.

Walter lived locally in Derby, and was a regular attendee at the annual Past Players Day until very recently.

Throughout Walter’s reign as Head Groundsman, Derbyshire pitches were renowned for being green and seamer-friendly, and Walter was once quoted as saying that; “It used to be an event when a ball turned at the County Ground…players would look at their watches when that happened.”

In Gerald Mortimer’s farewell article, written in 1982, he concluded by wishing Walter a long and happy retirement…well, he certainly had that.

Not many people can claim an association with Derbyshire that matches that of Walter Goodyear’s, and despite his retirement being almost 35 years ago, he was still getting a mention from Derbyshire regulars during the 2016 season.

The funeral will take place at Markeaton Crematorium at 2pm on Wednesday 11 January.

There will be a reception in the 3aaa Pavilion at The 3aaa County Ground after the service for friends and family, from 3pm, and refreshments will be available.

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