CHESTER Boughton Hall committee member Brian Gresty pays tribute to club stalwart Phil Campey, who died last week aged 73.

WITH the death of Phil Campey, Boughton Hall CC has lost one of its most staunch and energetic supporters.

An attack of polio,just after he had entered senior school at The King’s School in 1945 left Phil unable to continue to play competitively the ball games he loved. Upon return to school, after a year’s convalescence, he at once turned his exceptional energies and drive to administrative activities, undertaking, as a 12-year-old, the secretarial responsibilities for the school cricket 1st XI. This was the forerunner for a lifetime devoted to helping others to enjoy sports.

After being Head of School at King’s, and gaining a degree in maths at Hull University, Phil returned to the area as a teacher of maths at Sir John Deane’s School in Northwich, quickly becoming master in charge of cricket and becoming involved with Cheshire Schools Cricket Association. With fellow Old King’s Scholars, Phil founded a club to play social cricket on Sundays – the Chester Cross-batters.

As well as organising fixtures and players for Cross-batters, Phil played himself, fielding at first slip, and demonstrating, when batting with a runner, a good eye and reflexes.

Many of the Cross-batters’ players were Boughton Hall members, and as Sunday cricket became more common, amalgamation was a natural progression, with Boughton Hall’s Sunday team for “friendly” fixtures retaining the name of the Cross-batters.

By now, Phil was a very active member of Boughton Hall, taking on the difficult role of fixtures secretary, which he continued for almost 40 years. It is a tribute to his extraordinary organisational abilities that, during that time, the club was rarely without fixtures on a Saturday or Sunday.

With the retirement of Alf Snape towards the end of the 1960s, Phil took over as 1st XI umpire. He was the best of umpires, the competent and honest man, who undertook the job for the best of motives – to share with his friends their enjoyment of the game. In the mid-70s, the club enjoyed considerable success in knockout competitions, and Phil’s genial presence contributed to an excellent team spirit.

As time took its toll on his joints, Phil’s umpiring activities had to end, but his organisational activities seemed to redouble. As a management committee stalwart, and long-time chairman, as club president and as a director of Boughton Hall CC, Phil was regularly present at Filkins Lane. Any task he undertook, he made a success. When Minor Counties matches returned to Boughton Hall, Phil made it his business to ensure that no detail was overlooked which might prevent Cheshire CC from enjoying their fixture, and holding Boughton Hall in high regard.

By no means were Phil’s attentions confined to Boughton Hall. For many years a committee member of Cheshire Schools’ Cricket Association, he became its chairman in 1988, a position he continued to hold for more than 10 years. Fundraising events arranged by Phil were always enjoyable, always impeccably organised, and always successful in raising money for the Association.

Having acted as honorary auditor for English Schools Cricket Association from 1979 to 1984, Phil progressed to the prestigious position of chairman of ESCA in 1995, giving him a role in decision-making processes at Lord’s. With the Cheshire county club, Phil was a committee member for many years, before being appointed a life member and becoming chairman of the Cheshire Cricket Board.

In later years, though his mobility was further impaired, Phil’s enthusiasm and love for Boughton Hall were undiminished. With untiring help from his wife Elaine, he was a regular spectator on Saturday afternoons, encouraging and supporting the latest generation of players. Few men have overcome handicap as nobly as Phil Campey, and few have done more at schools, club and county levels to help others enjoy the game he loved. Phil Campey will be sorely missed.