15 February 1925 – 19 May 2020
Little did I realise when recently re-reading copies of ACCS Newsletters in which Tony had written many notices about colleagues who had left us that I would shortly be writing a notice of his passing for our modern version of the Newsletter.
AEJ Weld (yes - he did have a third initial but was less than happy when Brian Hunt released it and his date of birth (via Cricket Archive!) was born in Devon, the son of a Naval Captain who served in HMS Ajax and had a street in Ajax, Canada named after him. But Tony is best known and remembered for his long devotion to Hampshire and Hampshire cricket in particular.
Essentially a private man about his personal life, I gleaned over the years he had had a number of occupations outside cricket. He served National Service in the Army, including a spell in India, and reached the dizzy heights of Lance-Corporal – a fact I, with my military background, teased him about but he got his revenge by nicknaming me “Captain Peacock”. Still that was less derogatory than the nicknames he used for Brian Hunt and dear old Michael Ayers which I would not publish in a public (sic) forum. He also had employment as a bus driver, travelling salesman and latterly as a newsagent.
However, it is through cricket that most of us knew him, firstly as an umpire and then as a scoring colleague. I first met Tony at ACU meetings/functions and a 1977 ACU membership list shows him as a Full Member Umpire and I would imagine that meant he had been a member of ACU, ACUS and ECBACO for over fifty years. He had umpired many Hampshire 2nd XI matches in the 70’s and 80’s but by the time we met again whilst I was Secretary at Arundel, he had taken on the reins of Hampshire 2nd XI scorer. He was at Arundel, however, as scorer for the touring overseas team playing the opening match of their tour, a position he filled for a number of years with various countries, including South Africa in 1994 on their first tour to the UK after their return to international cricket. He was the ideal man for this type of appointment – more than capable of doing the job required, but with the ability to stay in the background when the situation determined. The many acknowledgements and presentations made to him by the teams over the years doing this task reflect the respect they had for him.
Having scored his first Hampshire 2nd XI match in 1989 he continued as 2nd XI scorer until the end of the 2005 season when he was appointed to the 1st XI post after Vic Isaacs had moved on, and he remained in post until 2013 when his mobility made it difficult for him to access the scorebox on certain grounds. His devotion to Hampshire was rightly rewarded with an Honorary Life Membership of Hampshire Cricket.
Tony was a founder member of ACCS when it formed in 1993, he joined the committee in 1995 and became Treasurer in 1996 until I replaced him in 2009 and then from 2011 until 2018 he acted as independent examiner – an opportunity for me to buy him lunch, but this was a regular occurrence during the off-seasons up until he went into a care home last year. Tony was rightly elected to Honorary Life Membership in 2014 in recognition of his service to ACCS and cricket in general.
Tony carried in his scoring kit one item that I don’t remember seeing in any other scorer’s bag and that was a cribbage board – it was never long into a rain-break before the board appeared and Tony was confirming “the usual 10p a game”!
November 2010 was probably the lowest time of Tony’s life with the passing of his beloved wife of many years, Mabel. He had nursed her through dementia for a number of years, both at home and then in a care home, including an incident when in very typical Mabel fashion, she “did a runner” from the care home but thankfully was found before coming to any harm. The number of Hampshire players and staff at Mabel’s funeral was evidence of the high regard and respect they held for both Mabel and Tony.
Tony is survived by children, grandchildren and at least one great-grandchild and we extend our condolences to all of them at this sad time. The passing of this true gentleman, our most senior member, marks the end of an era – such long-term service and devotion is unlikely to be repeated.
Back row: Cliff Booth, Alan West, Tony Weld
Front row: John Brown, Keith Gerrish, Andrew Hignell