Sandford Cricket Club loses last surviving founder member, Bill Matten

By Crediton Courier Contributor   |   Crediton Courier Contributor   |
Friday 10th June 2022 6:38 am
Bill Matten.
Bill Matten. (contributed )

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SANDFORD Cricket Club lost its last surviving Founder Member last Tuesday week, May 31, when Club stalwart Bill Matten died, aged 94.

Bill was one of the original members who helped form the Club back in 1949, and at that time was voted in as Fixture Secretary, a position he held at the Club until the end of the 2019 season – a total of 70 years.

In his time he was not only a playing member, but also captain of the Club between 1958 and 1962 and again between 1967 and 1972.

He also undertook the Secretary’s role between 1963-1988, as well as still being the Fixture Secretary.

He was a awarded a Life Membership in 1989 for his dedication to the Club. He became President in 1991, following the death of the previous President, Les Madge.

In 2017 the Club decided he should be remembered forever, by naming the Clubhouse after him.   It was an honour which was granted to him whilst he was still alive, and one which he was humbled by.

He helped establish and oversee the Club become one of the top Clubs in the county, an honour he was pleased with.

With the Club due to enter a new phase with the introduction of a second ground, this was something he could never imagine would occur within his life time.

Thankfully, he lived long enough to see this dream become a reality, even though the pitch itself will not be ready to be played on until next year at the earliest.

He was well-known in the local community as well as within the Devon Cricket community. He became an umpire upon giving up his playing career, and joined the umpiring panel of the Devon Cricket League shortly after Sandford joined the DCL in 1983.

He played football for Sandford from the late 1940’s and through the 1950’s before a knee injury took its toll in the early 1960’s.

He was also secretary at the Football Club for many years, as well as Clerk to the Parish Council at Sandford until the family moved to Crediton in 1969.

As well as his devotion to his beloved Cricket Club, Bill also worked for 50 years at the solicitors at No.31 High Street, Crediton (under their various guises over that time), next to Lloyds Bank, now known as Charlesworth Nicholl, before his retirement in 1992.

He died aged 94, and leaves his widow Sheila, to whom he was married for 71 years, as well as his only son Philip, along with daughter-in-law Pam, grandchildren Jason and Stacey and his four great grandchildren Lily, William, Noah and Lottie.

He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends and of course all the members of his cherished Cricket Club at Sandford. The pavements of Crediton will become much safer again now, knowing that Bill will no longer be “bombing along” on his mobility scooter on the way to get his shopping!

Bill’s funeral will be held on Monday, June 27. It will include a last trip around the outfield of the Cricket pitch at Creedy Park around 9.30am for anyone wishing to pay their last respects.

This will be followed by a private funeral at the Exeter and Devon Crematorium at 10.30am, and then back to Sandford Church for a memorial service at 12.30pm.

His wake will be held at his beloved Cricket Club. Donations in lieu of flowers to A White and Sons or on the day, which will be split between Sandford Cricket Club, Sandford Football Club and Sandford Relief in Need.

As a finale following his death, the Club’s three teams won all their matches, which he would have been absolutely delighted with, but this was “topped-off” by the Red Arrows flying over the Creedy Park ground in mid-afternoon. Even Bill couldn’t have written that script.

RIP Bill.

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