Author backs cricketing call

Author Duncan Hamilton and (below) Harold Larwood in his sweet shop on Victory Road.
Author Duncan Hamilton and (below) Harold Larwood in his sweet shop on Victory Road.
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The author of an award-winning biography about a famous cricketer has joined calls to rename a Blackpool park in his honour.

As reported in The Gazette on Monday, a campaign has been launched to rename the Victory Road park and Sports Barn, in central Blackpool, in honour of Harold Larwood – who owned a sweet shop on the land after his retirement from the sport in the 1940s.

Harold Larwood in his sweet shop on Victory Road.

Harold Larwood in his sweet shop on Victory Road.

Now Duncan Hamilton, whose story of Larwood’s life won the 2009 Sports Book of the Year award, says he is fully in favour of the idea.

Mr Hamilton said: “It’s a fantastic idea because he did really love his time in Blackpool.

“If it hadn’t have been for the war I think he probably would have moved up sooner because he just loved the people of Blackpool.”

Two former residents of nearby Caunce Street, Roy Freeman and John Bradshaw, who bought sweets from Larwood as a child, contacted The Gazette to suggest the renaming of the park.

Larwood, who died in 1995, was one of the most famous fast bowlers in the history of cricket and achieved notoriety for the 1932-33 England tour of Australia, during which he was instructed by his captain Douglas Jardine to bowl at the bodies of opposition batsmen.

He played for Blackpool Cricket Club in 1939 before moving to the resort with his family after the Second World War.

They later emigrated to Australia, the land which had once reviled him – and where his surviving relatives still live – in 1950.

Mr Hamilton, who regularly keeps in touch with them, says they are pleased about the use of the shop’s present site.

He said: “Until I came to Blackpool and looked for the site of his house I didn’t know that there was a park there and neither did his family, so they were really pleased to know it wasn’t just a shopping precinct or a spare bit of land.

“It’s a wonderful thing and I’m sure it’s something he would have liked.”

Blackpool Council, which owns the land, says it is willing to discuss the proposal.

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Legend who sparked a major stir

Harold Larwood was born in the village of Nuncargate, in Nottinghamshire, in 1904.

He initially worked as a miner before signing professional forms with his home county in 1923 and making his England debut three years later.

Larwood married his wife Lois in 1927 and the couple honeymooned in Blackpool.

In 1932 his bowling sparked an international stir after he was ordered by his upper class captain, Douglas Jardine, to bowl at the line of the Australian batsmen’s bodies rather than the stumps.

After the tour the English cricket establishment refused to defend the working class Larwood and he slowly fell out of love with the game.

After leaving Blackpool he emigrated to Sydney, Australia, where he worked for a soft drinks company. He died aged 90 in 1995 after a short illness.

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