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Larry Knowles Obituary

Larry Knowles was closely identified with Hawkley village and in particular the Sports and Social Club for over 65 years.  As cricketer, umpire and treasurer, and with his wife Doris playing the no less crucial roles of hall caretaker, booking secretary and maker of cricket teas and his brother Charlie running the bar and looking after the cricket pitch,   Larry was the lynchpin of the club throughout his life:  active and involved to the end,  he was instrumental in Hawkley reaching its present happy state of success and prosperity.

Born in 1928,  Larry lived all his life in Hawkley.   At the age of 14,  while the Second World War still raging, Larry started work at Lower Green Farm beginning an association that would last for almost 70 years. As life in Hawkley returned to normality after the rigours of the war,  cricket was played again on the recreation ground,  using an old hut in the corner now occupied by the children’s play area for changing and storage. Larry quickly found his niche as a spin bowler,  a skill which he would nurture for the next forty years.  Football was also played on the recreation ground and Larry was noted as a stalwart centre half:  a contemporary player compares being tackled by Larry to running into an oak tree. Larry’s retirement from playing cricket in the late eighties marked the start of a new chapter of his involvement in the game.  In his white coat and sun hat Larry became umpire for Hawkley,  and also at various times Liss and Froxfield.   His decisions were pronounced with unassailable impartiality and in a forthright Hampshire voice:  a gruff “Not Out!” or “No Ball!” would reverberate around the hanger. Upon reaching the age of 65 Larry retired from Lower Green – and then returned to work the week after because he could not put up with doing nothing.  Larry simply did not recognise the concept of spare time or taking things easy:  he carried on tending the Lower Green gardens until the week before he passed away, as well as looking after his own garden and others in the village,  not to mention umpiring on Saturdays and Sundays and his duties in the village hall.  A demanding schedule for a man half his age,  but then Larry was no ordinary man. No-one in Hawkley could boast of a longer or more diligent record of service to village and community than Larry,  nor was anyone less likely to boast of his achievements.  Born in a different age,  an era of honour and duty,  of service and modesty,   Larry was a rock of constancy and standards in the quicksand of change and fashion:  his old-fashioned courtesy and manners sometimes caused amusement but always commanded affection and respect and his steady hand guided Hawkley through good times and poor and ensured the club’s survival and success. Larry seemed as permanent a part of Hawkley cricket club as the hills surrounding the ground and we are going to miss him enormously.  We offer our sincerest condolences to Doris, Charlie and the family,  and we hope that the lovely cricket ground at Hawkley will always remind us of the man who did so much to encourage the game he loved and served so well.