In Memory

Iain Spencer-Baird


Grace’s Cricket Club is saddened to learn of the the recent death of Iain Spencer-Baird on 8 March 2009.

Iain was a former member of the club playing in the first team for a number of years during the early part of the current decade. He was an accomplished all rounder and features high up in the clubs historic performance averages. He was also an accomplished coach and cut his cricketing teeth in earlier years in his native north west of England.

Iain contributed socially to our club and was a fine performance pianist and musician. He accompanied us on one of the club’s early UK domestic tours to Wiltshire and to Devon and was a prominent contributor on the club’s first foreign tour to Spain in 2002.

The club expresses every condolence and sympathy to Iain’s family and many friends.

Neil Lawson Bede Ross

22 June 1952 – 13 July 2008

NEIL ROSS   Shane asked me to put together a few words on Neil Ross; it is almost a year since he passed away. Time moves on fast and waits for no man.

What do you say about someone who became an amazing friend and confidant? I knew Neil for about 4 years, we met through Graces cricket club. I would often give Neil a lift to a cricket game and we got to know each other through talking. Neil was someone I grew to respect and admire, his departure was very much a shock, although I knew he was very ill, it was all too sudden, one minute he was there and the next he was gone. It’s hard to believe.

Neil became a very good friend and when you got to know him, you realized he was a truly wonderful guy, especially kind and considerate to me and those he grew to like. He was highly intelligent and very perceptive; Neil was someone who could understand what was going on, without asking questions.

Neil would often give me enormous helpful advice and was someone I could respect because I knew he listened, he took the time to understand, and he offered his point of view, which often helped, although sometimes I didn’t always agree but knew Neil was almost always right. I hated that bit, but suppose we had something in common and that was our occasional stubbornness in believing we were always right. We would carry on thinking we were right.

He was a proud Australian and hated Australia being beaten by England in 2005, like most Australians, he says, “we were robbed”, so you can imagine how happy he was when England were whitewashed the year after in 2006? Yet, when England won the one day international tournament, Neil was convinced that Australia just hadn’t tried. So proud, but no humility, “swallow your pride Neil, England deserved to win”, I would banter. He got so mad. It was hilarious.

Yes Neil could be very stubborn and sometimes a grumpy old git and that’s just human nature, one of those idiosyncratic things I admired about him, it was very funny to see him getting tangled up about nothing and in the flicker of a moment, it was all gone, it was all forgotten and it wasn’t worth worrying about. We were always like that, ding dong and then it was gone.

The four years I knew Neil passed very quickly, perhaps too quickly. The four summers were spent playing or watching cricket and the winters spent eating out, or eating in, or generally just eating, but it was a time to get know someone who became a close friend almost immediately. We loved our cricket and we always had something to say but more importantly, we were both excellent listeners.

His life partner was Chopin, from Taiwan. They had a travelling sort of relationship due to visas, permits and all sorts of restrictions which they managed to overcome in 2007 when they became life partners in a civil partnership, followed by lots of champagne, wedding cake, and a fabulous fish dinner at some swanky Ivey Restaurant.

In many ways, his illness had an effect on him towards the end, which changed his personality somewhat, he became tired and agitated, but this was little wonder whilst suffering from this horrible cancer which had spread throughout his body, god knows what suffering he had to contend with.

Neil’s death was not expected so suddenly, I knew he had cancer and I knew he was undergoing heavy treatment, in fact, probably every treatment possible. Neil lived in at the close to the seven Dials, in Covent Garden, Central London, just in front of Andrew Lloyd Webbers house.

Neil was a fighter, with every breath; he had lots to live for. He guessed the end might become and moved back to Australia in late 2007. I visited him in February and spent 6 fantastic days in a new destination,

I could see that his cancer treatments were taking their toll, he was clearly very ill but summoned the strength to fight on, Neil always wanted me to visit Australia, he became my tour guide and took me to see Australia Versus India in a cricket match at the Sydney cricket ground and we spent 4 hours enjoying the splendid batting of Hayden, Gilchrist and team. I was taken to some of places he loved about Australia including Palm Beach & Bondi Beach and places where he visited when he was young. I will always cherish my first visit to Australia and my memories will always include Neil.

He achieved a great deal in life and was a true friend. When I left Australia, after my 6 day visit, it was always in the back of my mind, that this might be the last time I see him. I hate good byes, so I left early without saying goodbye; sometimes I think it was best, I just knew it was the end.

One thing though, when we collected his belongings from the shipping company they were delivered in a van which had the words “Grace” on the side. It was fate. Neil was one of Graces most gracious men and Graces in a strange way had come back to say goodbye.

I will miss him, and with a sad heart, I hope he’s looking down from heaven, keeping an eye on those he liked and admired.

Neil Lawson Bede Ross.  22 June 1952 - 13 July 2008