Items commemorating former Worcestershire bowler Charlie Preece – the only player to have his obituary appear in Wisden TWICE – were amongst many recently donated to or purchased by the Worcestershire Heritage Group.
Preece played for the County primarily in the 1920s, making 89 first class appearances and picking up 140 wickets at 29.81.
Wisden initially reported in its famous Almanack in 1966 that Preece had passed away and his family had to contact the publication and convince them he was still very much alive and kicking.
Broadheath-born Preece eventually died in 1976 aged 87, and this time his obituary was correctly published.
He became a Worcestershire member after retiring and some of those membership cards, plus a local newspaper report telling of his unusual story, will displayed along with the other new additions to the Heritage Collection in the Graeme Hick Pavilion and Club Shop.
Heritage Co-Ordinator, Tim Jones, said: “It is such an unusual tale, the only person who had his obituary appear in Wisden twice!
“It initially appeared when they thought he had died and his family contacted Wisden to say actually he was alive and well and to get them to amend their records, until he finally died in 1976.
“We’ve got his membership cards from when became a Worcestershire member after finishing playing and also a newspaper cutting from the Express and Star for 1976 explaining the two obits.”
Jones is delighted with the flood of new items to swell an already impression collection, which greets members entering the Hick Pavilion through the main entrance and also in several cabinets in the Club Shop.
He said: “It has been really good and we’ve added several items, a couple of which we have purchased.
“Also two or three lovely donations, all out of the blue that add good quality items to the collection. Really pleased.
“One particular one is a 1931 postcard signed by the whole Worcestershire team.
“Another one is a collection of items all relating to Wing Commander Shakespeare (former player-Club President who won the Military Cross) and in really good condition.
“Roly Jenkins MCC tour of South Africa blazer is an absolute cracker. It is really heady material. “
Two items were bought by the Heritage Group at auction.
Jones said: “There is a signed match stump belonging to Neal Radford with the inscription ‘NV Radford, Worcestershire, 100 first class wickets in 1985.’
“Also bought at auction was a scorecard from the match versus Hampshire in July 1899 in which WL Foster (140 and 172 not out) and RE Foster (134 and 101 not out) became the first brothers to score a hundred in each innings of the same game.
“This has only ever been equalled once by Greg and Ian Chappell.”
Jones added: “It number of items we have would be into the thousands easily. It is great to pick these things up.”
The latest additions to the Heritage collection are:
- Signed postcard of the 1931 Worcestershire side.
- Roly Jenkins’ MCC blazer from the 1948 – 1949 tour to South Africa plus his England cap. Kindly donated by Roly’s daughter Lynne Jenkins and his nephew, former Worcestershire player, Peter Robinson.
- Dick Howorth’s MCC sweater from the 1948 – 1949 tour to South Africa. Kindly donated by Tony Russell.
- Matchday tickets from the Gillette Cup in 1966 and 1967. Kindly donated by Chris Reading.
- Worcestershire signatures from 1926 collected by Wing Commander Harold Shakespeare, kindly donated by his grandson, Don Brooke.
- A picture of Wing Commander Harold Shakespeare wearing his Worcestershire cap. On display, alongside the cap, are his old style ‘pimple’ batting gloves and his Frank Woolley ‘pneumatic cushion’ buckskin pads. Kindly donated by his grandson, Don Brooke.
- Caps belonging to Wing Commander Harold Shakespeare, kindly donated by his grandson, Don Brooke:
- M.C.C. signed bat presented by John Palmer and his son Ian, lifelong supporters of the Club.
- Membership cards belonging to former player Charles Preece. With them is a newspaper cutting telling the unusual story that his obituary appeared in Wisden Almanack in 1966 … some 10 years before his death! It took several years for the record books to be corrected. Items kindly donated by Charles Preece’s grand-daughter, Andrea Williams.
- Ball signed by ‘The Master’ Jack Hobbs. Given to Reg Perks, it was then handed over to long time Worcestershire member, William Meek. Kindly donated by William Meek’s daughter, Janet Jenkins.
- Signed, match used stump belonging to Neal Radford with the inscription – N V Radford, Worcestershire, 100 first-class wickets in 1985. His season’s figures read:
- 779 overs, 130 maidens, 101 wickets, average 24.68, best figures of 6-45 – (bought at auction recently)
- Silk scorecard from the match versus Hampshire in July,1899. W L Foster (140 and 172 not out) and R E Foster (134 and 101 not out) became the first brothers to score a hundred in each innings of the same game. – (bought at auction recently) The picture of them is taken after their innings, R E is on the left and W L is on the right.