One of the glories of the Hurst cricket ground is the tree lined boundary. In a fitting tribute the OJ Club planted two memorial trees in honour of Cricket Week stalwarts, Hugh Thomas and Sue Hill.
Hugh Thomas, Words kindly written by John Bettridge
Hugh was a man of many roles. He arrived a Hurst in 1968 to teach Geography and Economics, became Housemaster of Eagle, head of his department and coached all the major sports. After retirement he retained his associations with Hurst and was a respected umpire for the 1st XI into his early eighties, touring with the school and old boys in that capacity over the years. As with so many the OJ Cricket Week became for him a feature akin to the coming of the seasons in his life. Apart from his umpiring his company and friendship were enjoyed by many over the years around the boundary and in the pavilion; not least at the daily sherry school that grew up in the hour before lunch.
He was known to many as “Uncle” Hugh; not a relation of course but the name stuck really because people recognised he had all the attributes that make an ideal uncle; you looked forward to seeing him; he had a genuine interest and cared about what you and your family were doing or planning, the conversation was entertaining and all was interspersed with a smattering of wisdom and a dry wit.
He was quite simply; a good man and a tree, near the pavilion, that is in full leaf in the cricket season, would seem to be the best proper memorial. An old friend standing nearby.
Sue Hill, words kindly written by Ian Buckeridge, OHJC President
It's something rather special when a school alumnus association commemorates someone who was neither pupil or a member of staff but then again Sue Hill was a rather special lady.
When she became engaged to George Hill, OJ in 1954 he was already Assistant Manager of OJ Cricket Week; by the time they married in 1958 he was on the staff at Hurst.
Sue was first introduced to OJ Cricket Week in 1957 when it was a very male environment, something Sue called all Batchelors and Booze, but she wasn’t deterred. With the coming of her family and living “in” it was only natural for Sue to take her children over the road to North Field to watch the cricket and through her example and encouragement other OJ families visiting with their children.
Just when Sue had successfully encouraged families to come to Cricket Week, the Hills moved to Llandaff. They subsequently bought a caravan and became the first family to regularly camp for the duration of the week, Sue organising family activities, swims, sandwich making and encouraging other OJ’s to follow suit and now the campsite is at the very heart of Cricket Week itself.
When Sue died earlier this year, The OJ Club wanted to commemorate her lasting contribution to Hurst and to OJ Cricket Week in particular. 2020 sees the centenary of OJ Cricket Week at Hurst and our Week has never been healthier, more inclusive or more family-friendly. No better illumination of this is the true story of the young son of an OJ who despite being at prep school in Repton, asked his parents to let him come to Hurst for senior school because of his happy childhood memories built around camping during Cricket Week every year from the day he was born. Today that OJ now brings his wife and growing family to camp at during cricket week.
Sue Hill’s influence lives on in the inclusiveness and friendliness of Cricket Week and the OJ Club felt it hugely appropriate to plant a tree in her memory on North Field close to the pavilion and overlooking the cricket pitch.