As you have just heard, Bill was passionate about cricket: the game and its traditional values. He believed that cricket and sport in general could improve the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people and so he became a volunteer for the Lord’s Taverners charity, which provides such opportunities. We found ourselves on the same committee of the charity about 10 years ago but we worked out that we had definitely played cricket against each other during the early 1980s. We also met on a couple of occasions through business when I was involved in organising a trade show at Olympia at which Bill’s company exhibited. So I do feel our paths were most definitely destined to cross from time to time.
One of Bill’s favourite things was visiting the special needs schools that the charity supports: usually this would be for a presentation or checking out a grant application. He made a great difference to the lives of hundreds of needy young people through his fundraising efforts but he never sought recognition. Working with Bill on producing and organising events gave me an insight into his meticulous nature. He was very thorough, often spotting small things that made a big difference. He had very clear ideas of his own, but was also open to other people’s suggestions. He was totally reliable and always got the job done and done well. Spending time with Bill, often over a good lunch or a drink after a meeting was a complete pleasure. Inevitably our conversation would end up in cricket chat: whatever we discussed I would come away enlightened and I shall miss that.
One of our favourite times shared together was preparing the final touches to an annual dinner in the hallowed surroundings of the Long Room in the pavilion at Lord’s. Having the room to ourselves we would marvel at the paintings and the history of the place. So it is fitting that Bill was made guest of honour at the aforementioned dinner just a couple of years ago. And for me it is apt that it was at Lord’s this summer that I last spent some time with Bill during the Test match.
Bill lived a full and rich life and he achieved a great deal. But my final thoughts are of a proud family man who was fun to be with, generous with his time, kind in nature, and admired by all who fortunate enough to know him. He will be as much missed by the charity he loved as he will by those of us here today.