Ashes hero immortalised

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While England’s cricketers may already have lost this winter’s Ashes series to Australia, one of their legendary predecessors is set to be immortalised by having a Blackpool park named in his honour.

Following a successful Gazette-backed campaign, the Victory Road Park and Sports Barn will be officially renamed in memory of Harold Larwood next week.

Mr Larwood was one of the most well known cricketers of the 1920s and 1930s - equally celebrated, in England, and reviled, in Australia, for his fearsome fast bowling.

He achieved notoriety during the so-called Bodyline tour of Australia in the winter of 1932-33 when, acting under the orders of his upper class captain Douglas Jardine, the former Nottinghamshire miner bowled at the body of the opposition batsmen - causing an international stir at the time.

Following his retirement from the sport, he moved his family to the resort and ran a sweet shop on Caunce Street, in the spot where the park now stands.

The campaign was started by Roy Freeman and John Bradshaw, who grew up on Caunce Street when Mr Larwood tended to his shop.

And the announcement the campaign has been successful has been welcomed by Blackpool Cricket Club chairman Dave Cresswell.

Mr Larwood played for the club and has already been honoured with a blue plaque at their Stanley Park ground.

Mr Cresswell said: “It’s a fantastic recognition.

“From a historical point of view he’s a Blackpool sporting legend and I can’t think of 
anything better to honour him. Some of the older members have still got recollections of seeing him play but it’s an era that’s going on by.”

The decision was ratified after central Blackpool and North Shore residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of the idea at a Gateway Area 
Forum meeting.

Ninety-three per cent of those present at the meeting voted in favour of renaming the park. Alan Odell runs tours at Trent Bridge cricket ground, in Nottingham, where Larwood plied his trade during his professional career.

He said: “It’s brilliant and I’m really pleased. Harold Larwood’s story is always something I’ve been interested in and I’m really touched that this is going ahead.

“Some of my wife’s relations live in Blackpool and next time we’re there we’ll definitely be round to have a look.”

The ceremony will take place at 10am on January 4.