It’s sad that the name Frank Pettit will probably mean little to most Cambridge United fans. Frank was Treasurer of Abbey United from 1930 until 1950, served as Chairman during the war years and held numerous other roles at the club. He even turned out for the reserves now and again. But that doesn’t tell half of Frank’s story, and all he did for the club.
Frank worked at Watson’s Timber Yard in Newmarket Road which, crucially, was a war time ‘reserved occupation’ and meant that he didn’t have to join the armed forces at the outbreak of war. During this time Frank kept the football club going pretty much single handed. Without Frank the club would almost certainly have folded and the ground would have been lost.
The story is a fascinating one:
The land for what is now the Abbey Stadium was bought by the club’s then President, Henry C Francis, in 1931. He fenced off the ground and even built a small stand, accommodating around 400 spectators. When Francis died, in 1939, Frank Pettit and other officers of the club were summoned to meet his solicitor. They were told that Francis had left the ground in trust to the Mayor of Cambridge, the Vicar of Fen Ditton and the District Nursing Association, to be used for football … and grazing. That’s how the grass was cut in those days!
However, the lease stipulated that if the land was ever to no longer be used for football, then it should be sold and the proceeds given to the Evelyn Nursing Home. During the war, if the ground had been unused there was also a good chance it would have been requisitioned for military use.
It was crucial, therefore, if the club was to survive the war, that football should continue to be played on Newmarket Road. The club was, essentially, in Frank’s hands. With most of United’s players and staff having been called up, Frank invited all and sundry to the ground for trials. He set about arranging friendly matches, with the United sides comprised of local youths, players and ex-players home on leave, and locally-posted servicemen. The opposition were, in the main, local army and RAF sides. Frank wrote match reports for the local press, but he was forbidden to name the opponents so as not to alert the Germans that so many armed forces personnel were based around Cambridge! Other sides were also allowed to play on the ground, with Frank sometimes refereeing.
Thanks to Frank’s tireless work the club and the ground survived the war and, come 1945, was able to rejoin the Cambs League and begin its inexorable rise up the English football ladder.
In a wonderful interview for Radio Coconuts Frank tells the story of his part in Abbey United joining the United Counties League in 1948. A lorry driver at Watson’s Yard mentioned to Frank that the UCL was looking for new members and asked him if United would be interesting in joining. Frank raised it with the Committee, United duly applied and were accepted, stepping up into a semi-professional league for the first time.
He also tells of the role he played in United’s election to the Football League in 1970. The United chairman at the time, Jack Wooley, never used to wear a tie, so he would always borrow Frank’s on his visits to League clubs as he toured the country to state United’s case. As we know, those visits played a huge role in persuading League chairmen that the U’s were a highly professional club and ready for League football.
Thanks to Paul Daw’s research it's now widely accepted that Abbey United was formed in 1912, but Frank had a key role in establishing this. Frank was able to authenticate for Paul a receipt made out on Abbey United headed paper that states ‘Founded 1912’. Frank recognised, and confirmed the names of, the club officials named on the document. Once again, United fans owed a huge debt of thanks to Frank Pettit.
Frank passed away in 1993. Hopefully now many more U’s fans will be aware of Frank Pettit and appreciate all he did for Cambridge United FC.
Listen to Frank’s interview with Radio coconuts here: https://www.100yearsofcoconuts.co.uk/radio-coconuts.html
Ian Hamilton 1967-2023
Cambridge United people have joined the rest of the football family in mourning the death this month, at the cruelly early age of 55, of midfielder Ian Hamilton.
Hamilton joined the U’s at an early stage of a career that saw him play at the top level of English football with West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United. He went on to play in more than 500 Football League games, earning a solid reputation for his industry and creativity.
Having been on United’s books as a youth, the 20-year-old, Stevenage-born Hamilton was signed by manager Chris Turner from Southampton in March 1988, arriving with striker Gary Bull for a combined fee of £6,000 funded by the U’s fundraising organisation Lifeline. Fellow midfielder John Beck, Turner’s assistant, observed that he looked a complete player: “He’s got good vision and is very comfortable on the ball.”
He made his debut at home to Darlington on April 1 and promptly scored the game’s only goal and his only goal in black and amber, running from his own half before cutting inside and lashing into the top corner from 25 yards.
Supporters were surprised when Turner sold Hamilton to Scunthorpe United for £28,000 just before Christmas, after 29 starts and one substitute appearance. The manager observed: “It was a good move for him and very good business for us.”
Hamilton played more than 140 games for Scunthorpe before joining West Brom in 1992 for £160,000. He was an important member of the Baggies team that won promotion to Division One in 1993, and made 282 appearances at the Hawthorns between 1992 and 1998, scoring 28 times.
He was transferred to Sheffield United for £325,000 in 1998, remaining at Bramall Lane for two seasons before joining Grimsby Town on loan and then Notts County.
He wound down his Football League career with Lincoln City and then joined Woking before retiring in 2003.
Hamilton, who became ill last year, had been working as a business development manager in IT.
“Farewell, old friend”
Some U’s fans, probably not that many, may have heard of the Abbey Church on Newmarket Road. They may have even seen it, walked past it, hiding behind a wall and a row of trees opposite what used to be the Five Bells pub back in the day. It is, it’s fair to say, not exactly conspicuous. If it is then it’s for the wrong reasons. The front gateway entrance is caged with a notice attached(see below), peering through one can see that modern life has, if not destroyed it, then has certainly ignored it. Boarded up windows, wildly overgrown grounds, untended graves and a crumbling, blighted construction. Goodness knows what the residents of Beche Road behind must think when they wake on a bright summer’s morning with that spectacle. A fair amount of desperation abounds in these parts.
It might look distinctly unloved now but this is one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge. Dating back to the early thirteenth century, the original official name was St Andrew the Less, reflected in the name subsequently of the local parish The construction was by the Barnwell Priory on an original Augustinian site. It escaped a huge fire which engulfed the locality in the eighteenth century and some significant restoration took place in the mid nineteenth century and as ‘recently’ as 1928 the iconic sculpture of St Andrew was added above the main entrance and actually remains as iconic today as I’m sure it did nearly a century ago. Whether it lasts a full century is perhaps questionable but arguably unforgivable if not.
Martyrdom should have legs, you know.
Local historians and indeed church leaders will tell you that the Church has suffered from a lack of patronisation for hundreds of years. A local archive from 1801 notes the church looked neglected and unpopulated. Whether it be the competition, for want of a better word, from the nearby Christ Church which is now, as I suspect it’s always been, a fine, upstanding, sociably thriving pillar of the community; or an inherent inaccessibility in terms of location. The advent of the Elizabeth Way bridge in the early 1970s and the collateral dustbowl of a new intersection wouldn’t have helped matters either.
Whilst being part of Coconuts means it is absolutely obligatory to be always writing about the dim and distant past, I don’t normally cover the downfall of ecclesiastical edifices and I am not as such a religious person. There is though a sting in the tail here to stir interested readers. Many, many people of my ilk have tried and largely failed to find a documentary link and/or trail between the Abbey Church and Cambridge United(known originally of course as Abbey United) however we have plenty of anecdotal detail supporting the contention that in 1912 when Abbey United was founded, the entity was created from the ranks of the Sunday school at the church. And indeed much later we have on record a speech from the then Abbey Utd and then CUFC secretary, Frank Pettit, to a local history group telling us that the nucleus of the playing side was derived from members of said choir. See Andrew Bennett’s excellent Risen from the Dust, volume 2 of the exhaustive Celery & Coconuts series, for more details. Initially you may observe well what a strange connection but actually there are many precedents in this life, check out the origins of Everton(St Domingo’s FC), Manchester City( St Mark’s) and Southampton(St Mary’s CEYMA) just for starters. Without mentioning Bolton Wanderers, Spurs and Birmingham City. You wonder why we started life as Abbey United…… and not St Andrew's FC! The Abbey Church title was more popular even then to be fair.
Robert J Wadsworth is a name etched in the history of our beautiful little football club even though he flirted as well with that lot over the river. He was vice-president of Abbey Utd, described as a well known Cambridge sporting personality and one of his many claims to fame was that in 1932 he officially opened what we all now know as the Abbey Stadium. Wadsworth was still around two decades later when the Cambridge United name was in full flow, not bad going when you consider he was on the Abbey Utd committee back in 1919! As quoted in the Cambridge Daily News in April 1952, Wadsworth, now chairman, remarked “....it is just 40 years since this club was formed as the old Abbey United that started as the outcome of the desire to play football by a Sunday School class…..” Well there was no other church in the vicinity of all those landmarks you read about in the early days of the Newmarket Road Roughs, yes volume 1 of the aforementioned Celery & Coconuts!
Here we are in 2023 and we know that the Abbey Church has begun the process of being deconsecrated. You probably got it but in other words, being “de-churched”. It is though a grade 2 listed building so being levelled, and rebuilt as something else is not going to happen overnight. Perhaps in time the modern day Abbey United may mark its connection with this monument of the Abbey district in some way. Too much to ask?
Finally, forgive my self- indulgence but I am going to nick a couple of lines or so from a favourite track of mine from a West London-based band from the late 1970s. Andrew Bennett would I think be impressed:
“ It was cold, every night
I was with you, some time ago.
But you were laughing to hide your crying
In shock and dazed we walked away….
You said they’ll know, in desperation,
The world we knew, in desolation.”
Farewell, old friend.
(Andy Fox, chair, 100 years of coconuts
With customary thanks to my predecessor, Pat Morgan and the late inestimable Andrew Bennett.)
Celery & Coconuts Collection volume V - A Big Emotion
United in emotion
Interim Cambridge United manager Claude Le Roy confessed he was feeling ‘a big emotion’ after a rare win in 2004.
United fans knew just how he felt as their club, which had been knocking at the door of the Premier League in 1992, endured adversity and ignominy – and very nearly extinction.
Following an all-too brief resurgence around the millennium years, in 2005 United plunged back into the non-Football League abyss from which it had emerged in 1970, flirting with ruination as it did so.
The club had grown from a group of boys kicking a ball about in the back streets of the poor Barnwell district of Cambridge, before World War I, to one that threatened to storm the stronghold of the game’s elite. Now emotions ran unbearably high as it stared extermination in the face.
The fifth volume of Celery & Coconuts, Andrew Bennett’s exhaustive history of Cambridge United, consists of a blow-by-blow account of those troubled years, imparted in Bennett’s inimitable, highly readable style.
An indispensable volume for U’s supporters and football history enthusiasts everywhere, A Big Emotion is published by Lovely Bunch and is available for.
Make sure you click on the right option
Collection at Forest Green Match ---- £19.99 order click on link below
Celery & Coconuts Postal volume V - A Big Emotion Postal
Cambridge United Football Club
Gerry Baker 1939-2022
Cambridge United people have been saddened to hear of the death, at the weekend at the age of 83, of former defender Gerry Baker, who played for the U’s to great acclaim from 1965 until 1969.
When United manager Roy Kirk signed Gerry in October 1965, it came as a shock to fans of fellow Southern League side King’s Lynn. Such was the big, no-nonsense defender’s popularity at The Walks that the Linnets were forced to hold a public meeting to explain the reasons for his departure.
Immediately appointed captain at the Abbey Stadium, Gerry formed a formidable defensive combination with Jackie Scurr. During the 1966/67 season, before the advent of substitutes in the English game, he played an astonishing 73 first-team games.
Kirk’s successor, Bill Leivers, praised Gerry’s performances as his team improved enough to claim a third-place finish in the 1967/68 Southern League Premier Division, and the player confirmed his popularity among U’s supporters by winning their player of the year award.
The following season was a triumph for the club, who claimed the Southern League and Southern League Cup double, and striker Tony Butcher recalled in 1971 that, if any single player was responsible for those successes, it was Gerry. ‘In the last ten games or so he was fantastic,’ he said. ‘He propped us up match after match and never put a foot wrong. We were struggling to win those matches, but the big fellow saw us through and I think they should have struck a special medal just for him.’
But Leivers’ signing of Terry Eades from Chelmsford City in March 1969 signalled the end of Gerry’s Abbey career. The manager, able to call on the Southern League’s two best centre halves, did not hesitate to play both of them when the occasion demanded, but as 1969/70 progressed, Terry began to ease Gerry out of the side.
On October 17, having been ‘tapped up’ by Cambridge City manager Tommy Bickerstaff, Gerry signed for United’s cross-Cam rivals. An incensed Leivers visited City chairman Harold Ridgeon and negotiated a £1,000 fee on the spot. Gerry wasn’t the greatest footballer in the world, he noted of his departing player, ‘but my God, he could stop the others playing.’
Gerry had started 259 games, made two substitute appearances and scored 16 goals in black and amber.
He was just as popular, if not quite so successful, at Milton Road as he had been at the Abbey. He captained the Lilywhites to promotion to the Southern League Premier Division in 1969/70, and had played in 147 games over three seasons when he joined Stevenage Athletic.
Gerry then moved into Cambridgeshire League football with Great Shelford, managing the reserve team before becoming first-team manager in 1976. Under Gerry, Shelford reached unprecedented levels of success, notably becoming the first Cambs League club to win the county’s Invitation Cup in 1981, and long-term supporters remember fondly a 1-0 victory over City at Woollards Lane after a draw at Milton Road.
Gerry Baker was born in South Hiendley, West Yorkshire on 22 April 1939. In his youth he was Yorkshire junior high-jump champion and his promise as a footballer was confirmed when he played at full back for the county’s boys’ team. Following National Service he joined the ground staff at Sheffield Wednesday, and moved to Bradford Park Avenue in 1955.
He played 16 Football League games for Park Avenue before signing for King’s Lynn in 1961. Having become captain at The Walks, he moved from full back to centre half in 1964. ‘I’ve got the build for centre half and I love being in the thick of things all the game,’ he said.
His post-football working career finished as an insulation engineer at Kershaw. In retirement he looked after the gardens of many Shelford residents.
Gerry’s dementia progressed following the death in 2018 of his devoted wife Jean, and he moved into a care home in Buckden. He then moved into care closer to his Yorkshire roots. He leaves a son, Gary, and a daughter, Jayne.
1 Gerry Baker at Cambridge United 1965
2 Gerry Baker in aerial action, with goalkeeper Rodney Slack, against Cambridge City at Milton Road, date unknown
3 Gerry Baker with former CUF chairman Dave Doggett at the Abbey Stadium, 21 November 2015
Malcolm Lindsay 1940-2022
All connected with Cambridge United were sad to learn of the death, at the age of 81, of striker Malcolm Lindsay, who helped the U’s win the Southern League and gain election to the Football League in 1970.
Malcolm, who had been battling cancer since last year, played 35 times and scored 16 goals for the U’s, although he was better known for an astonishing career with King’s Lynn – his 321 goals for the Linnets in 749 games is a club record.
United knew all about him long before Bill Leivers signed him in February 1970 to bolster the attack as they strove for their second successive Southern League title. The bustling Northumberland-born striker had scored five times against United, and he had also been on the receiving end of a headbutt from U’s goalkeeper Keith Barker during a 5-1 Linnets win.
Leivers was on the look-out for a proven goalscorer when the on-loan Paul Gilchrist departed, and Malcolm, already a legend at The Walks who had been top goalscorer for several seasons, fitted the bill perfectly. The United manager paid £750 for the all-action centre forward, and immediately picked him for an Eastern Professional Floodlit League derby against Cambridge City. Malcolm repaid some of the fee with both goals in a 2-0 United win.
He quickly developed an understanding with fellow striker Bill Cassidy, and both scored in a 2-0 Southern League win over Telford in March. By then he was usually operating as part of a three-man strike force with Cassidy and George Harris in away games, while at home the U’s would switch to 4-2-4 with winger Peter Leggett joining the front line.
Malcolm continued to contribute goals as the season ended in triumph and United were elected to the League. United’s first game in English football’s top 92 – a 1-1 draw against Lincoln City on Saturday, 15 August 1970 – also saw his Football League debut.
As the 1970/71 season wore on, however, he found himself playing more in reserve competitions than in the League, and his season’s tally of first-team games was at seven, with one goal scored, when he was allowed to leave for Boston United on a free transfer in December.
Before his move into full-time professional football, Malcolm had begun his working career at Woodhorn Colliery and served his time as an apprentice fitter at Ashington Colliery. He married local girl Patricia in 1962, and after the ceremony his new wife and guests watched him play for Ashington against Workington Reserves. He then played for Berwick Rangers and Queen of the South before moving south to King’s Lynn.
After his time at the Abbey Stadium and his spell at Boston, Malcolm returned to complete his record-breaking career at King’s Lynn. He finished his career with Wisbech Town in the 1977/78 season. He and Patricia, who died 15 years ago, subsequently ran the Bentinck pub in Loke Road, King’s Lynn.
Steve Finney 1973-2022
Cambridge United is sharing with the rest of the football family its sadness at the news of the death, at the early age of 48, of striker Steve Finney.
Steve started four games, made three substitute appearances and scored twice for Roy McFarland’s U’s team in the 1997/98 season, while on loan from Swindon Town. It was at the County Ground that he had his most successful years, scoring 18 times in 73 games between 1995 and 1998, and helping the Robins to the Division Two title in 1995/96.
But Steve’s life in football started and ended much farther north. Born in Hexham in 1973, he began his career at Preston North End and spent 18 months at Premier League Manchester City, before joining Swindon in 1995.
He was 23 when he joined United in October 1997 and he quickly made his mark, scoring on his debut in a 3-1 loss at Mansfield. Another goal followed as the U’s drew 1-1 with Rochdale at the Abbey.
He returned to more familiar territory in 1998, signing for Carlisle United and scoring six goals in 38 games, including a run of four in eight matches in the campaign that famously ended with goalkeeper Jimmy Glass's last-minute goal keeping the Blues in the Football League. There followed spells at Leyton Orient, Barrow, Chester City and Altrincham.
Following his playing career Steve worked in sales and business development in the car and fuel industries, while coaching in local football. His most recent appointment was at Ullswater United in the Westmorland League.
He died on February 4, after a short illness.
Ian’s Kruse to a world record
Always happy to correct an error, especially when it involves an old friend and a world record.
The pal in this case is Ian Seddon, who plied his cultured midfield trade with the U’s between 1976 and 1977, racking up 47 appearances and four goals for Ron Atkinson’s side. The world record is that for football’s fastest own goal.
Let it now be proclaimed: the ‘assist’ for the fastest ‘oggy’ in English and even world football – scored by Torquay United’s Pat Kruse in a Division Four match against United on 3 January 1977 – should be attributed to Ian Seddon. Somehow, Coconuts got its facts twisted when it credited the assist to Dave Stringer back in 2018.
The own goal took just six seconds and was greeted by stunned silence on the Plainmoor terraces. It was so quick that United physio Ron Simpson, who had been in the United dressing room when the game kicked off, had no idea that a goal had been scored and afterwards took some convincing that the U’s had gained a point with a 2-2 draw.
Ian tells a cracking story – for evidence, have a look at Ah’m Tellin’ Thee, his entertaining biography of Bolton Wanderers and England full back Tommy Banks; available on the usual book sales websites – so let’s listen to his account of the record-breaking events. Bear in mind that the frozen, rutted pitch, with one muddy goalmouth thawing slightly, was barely playable that day.
‘We had a set week-in, week-out kick-off routine,’ Ian recalls. ‘Ron always wanted the ball long behind the full back, even if it went out of play – he wanted to put the emphasis on the opponents getting out of their last 20 yards.
‘When Tom Finney played the kick-off back to me it hit a rut and I didn’t catch it clean, resulting in the ball swerving inside the wide centre half, Pat Kruse. He raced back inside the box towards his goal and headed it past the goalie (Terry Lee), who was sprinting out of goal to collect. They almost collided.’
Referee Tony Glasson’s opening ‘pheep!’ had barely died away and the U’s were a goal ahead. Remarkably, they went two up just before half-time when Phil Sandercock supplied the game’s second own goal with a spectacular header from a Tommy Horsfall cross.
The Gulls’ failure to win a game in which they scored all four goals is legendary on the English Riviera. It has even inspired Torbay musician Ian Churchward to compose the song The Fastest Own Goal and feature it on his album Thrilling Blunder Stories.
It was a strange day all round, and the weirdness was in keeping with the rest of the weekend, Ian remembers. ‘Ron had taken us to Devon over the new year, to train before the game,’ he says. ‘For some reason we were billeted at a holiday camp. The place was closed, although the canteen was opened for us, but there was no heating in the rooms, which were absolutely freezing, and there was nothing to occupy us after training. A few of the lads who made the trip were recovering from injury – Graham ‘Willie’ Watson was one.
‘After one full training session, Big Ron summoned John Simpson to collect a golf driver from his room. Ron then commenced driving balls into the wooded ravine below the complex, demanding that Willie and the other lads recovering from injury “go fetch”.
‘Seeing Willie and co panting and puffing on endless sorties like gun dogs seeking shot-down pheasants was embarrassing to the rest of us, but in true football teammate humour the cheek of it brought a smile.’
Willie remembers the incident slightly differently. Ron was armed, he recalls, with both a driver and a pitching wedge or similar. Willie, as the senior member of an injured duo with full back Bill Baldry, ensured his younger colleague was dispatched to fetch the manager’s shots from the driver, while reserving the shorter wedge shots for himself.
Not like Willie to take the easier option, observes Ian with a grin.
Tale tellers: Tommy Banks (left) and Ian Seddon
Afternoon, folks. Hope you are all well. For the usual pragmatic deadlines these notes are quite early but I trust the bubble of euphoria is still inflated following recent cup advancements.
22 January is an interesting date in the life history of CUFC but during the 2010-11 season(of blur) in the Conference(then BSP) we saw an entertaining fixture at the Abbey v Wrexham. Lest we forget that nine seasons after leaving the dreaded our friends in north Wales are still there. Sobering.
At the time Wrexham were flying in the playoff positions whilst the U’s were floundering(at best middling) in the lower half of the table. By half time the game was effectively over as the Dragons had cruised in to a three goal lead with Andy Mangan, Chris Blackburn and Paul Pogba hitting the old onion bag. Did you spot that……? It was actually Matias Pogba. He’s still playing you know, in France. Only 31. Robbie Wilmott pulled one back just before the hour but a consolation only. The Wrexham line up had some interesting names that day, coached by a certain Dean Saunders. Frank Sinclair, Dean Keates, Andy Morrell and in goal…………..Chris Maxwell. Pretty much his hometown where he spent four seasons and made 76 league appearances. Before moving on and up to the Cod Army in Fleetwood. Not so sure I ever knew the first part of his journey. Always worth having a coffee over when you’re at home.
That season Wrexham ended up in the playoffs(fail) and we were stuck in 17th position on 50 points and a goal difference of -8. Poor. One thing of positivity. Errea from Italy were producing our kit at the time. Hardly the most imaginative of designs but the shade of amber remains up there in the pantheon and spot knocking-off of both previous and subsequent colours.
Enjoy the game and keep safe. Remember, there’s only one United.
Afternoon, all. Hope you enjoyed your football-free break. At least for you cricket fans out there(and there are many I know), the England team will return victorious from Australia shortly.
Welcome to Pompey this afternoon. Did you see that Fratton Park ranked at no 20 in FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Football stadiums in the UK survey? We’re at 81.
We’re going back to our first fixture of 1983 for our stroll back down Cut Throat Lane way today. A home game in division two against Blackburn Rovers who were sitting ninth in the table at the time whilst we were struggling in the bottom four. In truth our second division days were starting to run out. We managed miraculously to stay up that season and actually finished a very creditable 12th, one spot below the Rovers. Looking at some of the crowds in the first half of that 1982/3 season it is clear to see that the Cambridge public were becoming disenchanted with second division life too. The 1983/4 season though was a disaster from the start and we finished rock bottom, 24 points from safety.
The programme for the Blackburn game was a brief affair dictated by the time of year. Some interesting highlights though. The Goal Sponsors’ page is interesting and who could fail to notice a certain Peter Mills from Ditton Fields. He of indomitable Supporters’ Club doorman fame! Some of you older fans will recognise quite a few players in the Rovers line up. Simon “goals” Garner, Derek Fazackerley, infamously on the bench for Newcastle through various management regimes, now assistant to Karl Robinson at Oxford. And Mr Blackburn Rovers himself, Tony Parkes. Six spells as caretaker manager between 1986 and 2004 must surely be a record. When he left for Blackpool eventually he even got them promoted via the playoffs. I must also make comment about Blackburn’s shirts, surely one of the most identifiable in our game. Consistently in blue and white halves since 1878. Did you know though that the halves have been switched nearly ten times over the years? Looking at the shirts front on we have blue on the right hand side which has prevailed for three seasons following a switch from the other side in 2018-19. The halves design appeared for the first time in 1878 and then the blue(albeit navy) was on the left hand side. Clearly never set in stone.
Finally for today a chance to celebrate the birthday on this day in 1892 of one John Ronald Ruel(JRR) Tolkien. Tolkien was English but actually born in Orange Free State in S Africa. Works such as The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion propelled his status and he became the Father of High Fantasy. Tolkien died in Hampshire in 1973 having been made a CBE just the previous year. In 2002 a poll conducted by the BBC voted him the “92nd greatest Briton”. Praise indeed.
Enjoy the game.
Happy Harry's blog
I'm the living embodiment of the spirit of the U's, and I'll be blogging whenever I've got news for you, as long as I don't miss my tea.