By Ken Evens
FORMER Chairman of the Thurrock Thameside Football Combination and renowned local cricketer Andrew Lamb passed away peacefully at the age of 96 on 23rd November 2010.
Andrew was a prolific cricketer and a member of the strong Thurrock Interknit team, which was based in Grays. He once guested for the Essex Club and Ground cricket team and was asked by the great captain of Essex, Tom Pearce, to bowl a couple of overs. In his 20′s and 30′s, he achieved a high standard as a football referee, officiating all over Essex and the Home Counties and included an appointment as linesman at the FA Amateur Cup semi-final played at The Oval.
Andrew’s love of sport began we he started playing for his father’s cricket team – Pitsea Methodists CC – on Saturdays in the Summer of 1929 at the age of 14. The ground was opposite The Bull public house on the A13 at Pitsea, though he and his team colleagues had to be content with a very long outfield in July and August as it provided much needed feed for local livestock during the Winter months.
During the second world war, Andrew served in the Merchant Navy. He had one trip as part of the Russian convoys, which were rescue boats to deliver food and supplies to the Russian people. He recalled it as being his worst trip, due to the severe cold and thick ice on the decks. When Singapore surrendered, his ship was the last to leave, with civilians bound for Australia. By 1946 he had played cricket in Australia, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and South Africa.
As a schoolboy, Andrew was entrepreneurial; at the age of eleven he sold newspapers outside the Mence Smith general stores in Pitsea and made the princely sum of three old pence per quire sold. His youthful activities were not without incident – around the time of his cricketing debut for Pitsea Methodists – he was delivering groceries and paraffin for a Mr Starling. He was seldom able to ride the bike, either because he was overloaded with provisions or faced with heavy mud on the un-made local roads. But on one occasion, it is unclear exactly why, the paraffin caught fire and he had to be rescued by a local St. John’s Ambulance officer who happened to be nearby.
In the 1950′s and 1960′s, he umpired for Wickford Cricket Club and was one of their long-standing vice-presidents. Born on 27th October 1914, Andrew’s funeral will be held at Pitsea Crematorium on Wednesday 29th December at 10am; all donations to St. Luke’s Hospice.