Friday evening saw the Freedom of the City awarded to Basil D’Oliveria – an award that is long overdue. The Guildhall played host to Worcestershire legends and heroes who played alongside Basil. We were entertained by speeches from Norman Gifford, Lord Faulkner, Cllr Andy Roberts, Pat Murphy and Dave Bradley, who summed up the effect that Basil had not only in cricket, but on the world.
Basil D’Oliveira became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, linking Worcestershire cricket to international politics in the process. Friday’s event was a fitting tribute to a man revered by many around the globe – he ranks alongside the acts of the great Jesse Owens in terms of sporting political statements or achievements to change world opinion. The memory of Basil will now live on forever in Worcester’s history.
And if that night wasn’t magical enough, then what was to follow was even more miraculous. On Saturday I was privileged to witness the greatest set of events in Worcestershire’s cricketing history in recent times! At Edgbaston little old Worcestershire, with 10 of the 11 fielded players England qualified, who had been written off by critics and pundits alike, etched their name into the history books by winning the Vitality T20 Blast Competition. This was a gargantuan and Herculean Task of David v Goliath proportion, which saw our team beating the star-studded Lancashire and the mighty Sussex in the process.
The crowd and I were delirious; it was a real moment to savour and cherish. On the sporting front we haven’t had much to celebrate recently so it is important to now celebrate this victory appropriately, to inspire the next set of Ben Coxes, Pat Browns and Moeen Alis.
This week Worcester has also bid farewell to the giraffes that have brought so much fun, joy, visitors and business to the city. They have brightened the mood of thousands and have been a pleasure and inspiration. Thank you, St Richards Hospice.
Long Live cricket; long live Worcester! What a wonderful, beautiful place – which according to the latest ‘Unbroken Britain’ survey is now officially the happiest city in the UK too!