Tributes paid to true hero

Bobby Dodds at the 2006 sports awards.
Bobby Dodds at the 2006 sports awards.

A credit to the community, a gentleman, a hero – these are just some of the touching tributes used to describe much-loved Bobby Dodds, who passed away last week.

The popular 75-year-old from Alnwick died in Wansbeck General Hospital on November 14, after suffering a heart attack.

He leaves behind wife of 44 years Peggy, aged 74, and their son Martin, 43.

The news has shocked and devastated all who knew him and a large turnout is expected at his funeral, which takes place today, at Alnwick’s St Michael’s Church, at 11.30am.

Bobby will, perhaps, be best remembered for his love and tireless commitment to sport, in particular cricket.

He was one of the longest continuous serving and most enthusiastic members of Alnwick Cricket Club and had held every office at some point throughout his life, including club chairman , treasurer and first-team scorer.

Shortly before his death, he was elected club president.

In the summer, the Weavers Way outfit honoured Bobby’s affiliation with the club – which spanned more than half-a-century – by naming a new state-of-the-art scorebox after him.

Long-time friend and fellow club stalwart, Ted Sisterson, paid his respects.

The pair, who have known each other for the best part of 70 years, were involved with the club’s weekly bingo event and went on holiday together in 1998 to see England play the West Indies in two test matches – a long-held ambition of Bobby’s.

“He will be a big miss,” said Ted.

“He was a very easy-going person, a nice guy and everybody liked him.”

Bobby became involved with Alnwick CC in 1947, aged 10, and played until 1955, when National Service stopped him playing temporarily.

On his return, he represent ed Felton CC for a number of seasons.

In 1960, he came back to Alnwick, and remained a member. He was a playing member in all Alnwick club sides, before retiring in 1986.

However, player shortages saw him return to the field on more than one occasion, carving out a record of playing first-team cricket in every decade from the 60s to the 90s.

He even had the dubious distinction of being the last Alnwick cricketer to be dismissed in the 20th century.

Off the field, he was heavily involved with the club, from helping to raise funds to supporting junior cricket.

Away from Alnwick CC, he was on the management committee of Northumberland County Cricket Club and one of two official scorers for the county team. He also had the honour of scoring at Lord’s.

It wasn’t just cricket which captured Bobby’s interest.

During his time, dedicated Bobby was chairman of the joint cricket and hockey club before the latter moved to Longhirst.

In the 1959/60 season, he held the position of secretary of Alnwick Town Football Club for a year, and remained on the committee for a short time.

He was also treasurer of Alnwick and District Sports Council.

Current chairman Bill Batey said: “Bobby was a very effective long-standing member of the sports council and showed a keen interest and desire to assist and support sporting clubs in the area.”

Bobby received a number of accolades over the years to recognise his dedication to sport.

In his professional life, Bobby had a number of jobs over the years. He worked at Dickson, Archer and Thorp solicitors in Alnwick, was employed by the county council, and also served Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service as a finance officer.

Bobby’s funeral will be followed by a burial at Alnwick Cemetery, before a reception at Alnwick Cricket Club.