Paul Beard Memorial
Paul Beard Memorial Fund
Paul Beard died suddenly at work on 15th January 2008, at the tragically early age of 43. He was a huge part of our Club and is missed by us all. Thanks to the Paul Beard Memorial Fund, many of his passions and interests are being continued.
Paul Beard Memorial Fund
A memorial fund has been established and all those who knew Paul through his contribution to local junior cricket and football can make a contribution to this fund. A keen golfer, footballer, squash, tennis and rugby player, Paul’s contribution to “sport for all” in the local area is unparalleled. The Paul Beard Memorial Fund was established to continue Paul’s good work and promote community participation in healthy recreation by providing funding and facilities for sport (all sport) for young people both locally and overseas. If you would like to contribute to Paul's fund please get in touch for details.
A year after Paul's untimely death, many people have generously contributed to the memorial fund set up in his name and it now stands at around £24,000. Paul’s widow Carolyn and his family would like to distribute the money to the following causes that were important to Paul.
- £11,000 - Berkhamsted Raiders Football Club, including a minimum of £5,000 to be pledged to BerkoAstro, a project to which Paul was committed.
- £6,000 – Berkhamsted Cricket Club, where Paul played as a teenager and more recently with his son Ben and also assisted with coaching. The Cricket Club plans to set up coaching grants in Paul’s name, which the club feels is a good legacy given his passion for coaching.
- £5,000 – The Paul Beard Sports Fund – set up at St John’s College, Cambridge by Paul’s wonderful college mates to support students of St John’s participating in University and College sport. Paul was a very proud Johnian and rugby blue and recognised the opportunities he was given during his time at the university.
- £1,000 - The Senahasa Trust – set up by family friend Kumu following the tsunami in Sri Lanka. The family hopes to help to provide some play or sports equipment for the schools that the Trust has rebuilt.
- £1,000 - The Sabre Trust – set up to support the area in Ghana that Ben Beard visited with Chesham High School in October on a sports tour. The fund would like to provide some funding for sports coaching or equipment.
Memories Paul Beard
Below are the thoughts and memories of Paul by the Club's members and colts. There are further memories of Paul at: http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/
Miles, Helen and Isla Harrison
Paul's loss is devastating - there is no other way to put it. Our thoughts go out to Carolyn, Ben, Molly, Sophie and all the family. Paul was a great man for a multitude of reasons and meant so much to so many. To hear the tributes at his memorial service last week was a privilege and, indeed, an inspiration. Paul's love of sport was something that, of course, struck a chord with our family. I would have loved to have played rugby with him - he would have been first to the ball and first to the bar too - a protector of his mates on the field and a protector of the best traditions of the sport off it. It was the same with his cricket and I have a lovely memory of sitting watching a day's test cricket at Lord's with Paul, pint in hand, soaking up the atmosphere and his great sporting company. We will all miss him.
Simon, Josh, Julie and Sam Roberts
Paul was simply a wonderful man, he was an inspiration to me, an inspiration to my children, an inspiration to us all.
I do recall the day when bowling on the top pitch, Paul was at first slip. The batsman looked set for a big innings and was beginning to score at a rapid rate. On this occasion the ball instead of going down the leg-side as normal swung away, the batsman slashed as hard as he could, the ball flew off the edge of the bat at a tremendous pace. Paul leapt to his right making a sensational one-handed catch high above his head, a catch I am sure that neither Collingwood nor Rhodes would have made. So ecstatic was I at having taken a wicket and so breath-taking the catch that I jumped and leapt over to Paul like Monty Panesar asking for a kiss, he politely declined and shook my hand.
I am sure his deep booming voice will continue to echo around Kitcheners Fields for many years to come.
Like a lot of us, I only met Paul back in 2006 when he returned to the club with Ben. I was trying to help the club get out a regular 3rd XI and was simply hoping that he could play for the team every now and then. His impact on the club since has been immense. He became a comforting presence in the 3rd XI middle order and stood in as captain a few times, a natural leader. I was lucky enough to spend many hours with Paul last Winter as we did our level two coaching course together and in the short time since then he has already helped inspire the U14s, U10s and the Girls with his enthusiasm for the game.
Most of my memories of Paul will be from the Tour last summer. He led our activities off the pitch and was as always great fun to be with. I will remember him driving around a housing area searching for a "Laser-Quest". And I will remember putting on a 100 with him before he quite deliberately got himself out so that someone else could have a bat, a typically selfless act.
It was a great privilege to be a team-mate and I hope a friend of Paul's and I will miss him very much.
I first met Paul at school when he was 12 and I was 13, initially we were in different teams but from the first and ever since he was a sporting mate. Paul was everything that you would dream of being as a man, integrity, bright, quick, humble, funny, a wonderful athlete who could adapt to any sport. He had the sort of attitude which turned any problem into a great challenge and a difficulty into an opportunity, always approached with a cunning wit and a competitive spirit. I was lucky enough to play many sports with Paul over many years and whichever sport it was he was always first on the team list, not only for his talent but mainly for his character. His death has stunned me, saddened me and brought to mind many, many memories on and off the field which will burn bright for ever more.
Paul was surely a very talented sportsman and person. From his school days where I was lucky to play in some of the same teams as Paul to his days at university where he played in the Rugby Varsity match.
It was only the last few years when i ran into Paul again and he not only had kept the same enthusiasm for sport but was now passing on his wealth of experience to the younger ones.
I remember Paul very fondly as someone who was very much liked and respected by all that came into contact with him. My hat goes off to him as someone who I liked very much, admired greatly and respected lots.
You will be sadly missed
The last time I saw Paul he was pottering around the clubhouse, chatting, laughing, thoroughly enjoying himself and entertaining those around him. It was just a normal Sunday morning with Raiders but for me it summed up the man I had only really known for a couple of years. His enthusiasm for embracing all aspects of sport, on and off the field, will remain as the lasting memory but there are many individual moments I have had the pleasure of recalling over the last few days: being one of the many crocked fielders I had to captain at Letchworth - at least he was injured giving his all, leading the game of bunnies at the end of season curry where endless rule changes baffled all but him, his waistcoat at the Ball and coaching the girls cricket on a Sunday morning are just a few. We had a couple of long chats about balancing our kid’s participation in numerous sports and he had a glint in his eye as he recalled his own kids achievements - a proud Dad.
It's been a difficult week for everyone who knew Paul, such was his presence and personality, but the memories will live on - and what good ones they are too.
It's very difficult to describe my feelings at this sad time, to digest the news about Paul and come to terms with it will take some time. I first knew Paul when he was at school and breaking into club cricket. I played a few Sunday games with him, and indeed was on the same cricket tour. He was very passionate about his sport, particularly rugby, where he bamboozled a few of us with his knowledge of the rules. Coaching was also a passion, and no-one did it better than him. As for playing cricket, he played fairly and competitively, but always with a sense of humour, something he always took with him to the bar. Rest in peace Paul, you will be missed, but you did leave your mark on this world, and on many people in it.
Andy and James Chambers
I only had the pleasure of knowing Paul for a relatively short time. It strikes me, therefore, that the shock and pain I feel at his passing must be indescribable for those that knew him best. He was one of the small group of people about whom no one had a bad word to say. I remember the occasion Mark referred to and his joy at 'caught Beard bowled Beard' appearing in the scorebook. I remember the commitment, demonstrated by driving up from Dorset on the morning of the County final and his pride at watching Ben produce a man of the match display in the last ball defeat. His energy and zest for coaching was inspirational and I hope, that when I grow up, I will be like Paul.
The words tragic and robbed are massively overused these days, yet both perfectly describe Paul's untimely death. However, very few individuals can hope to leave behind a legacy, yet from reading all the messages on this and other websites I truly believe that is what Paul has left. He has touched so many lives and 'made a difference' to so many. I hope, that when the pain for his family slowly begins to ease, that they will take some small crumb of comfort in that.
Paul you were a top man, and you are already sadly missed.
From my own days as a young colt in the mid-1960s, I remember Paul's father Dennis Beard as a regular member of the 2nd XI. As a Berkhamsted School master he was "a man to be looked up to and formed a key part of a team which always appeared to be successful and well-run. Dennis batted and bowled, blending great enthusiasm for the spirit of the game with the attention to detail of a keen organiser. A team of that era would include our president Norman Warren of course, together with Ray Russell, Harold Hollies, Eric Roe, Peter Iliffe, Johnny East and Cyril Hughes amongst others.
When Paul started playing for the club and worked his way quickly through to the 1st XI, that enthusiasm for cricket certainly seemed to be inherited in full. For no particular reason, I recall him most clearly from one of those "no trouble, skip" days when Paul stood in as emergency wicketkeeper. We were on the giant, windswept Uxbridge ground, facing an attacking batting line-up on a perfect wicket and a lot of hard work in the field. Paul took a fine catch or two and those energy levels didn't relent from start to finish, helping greatly to make us look a half-decent opposition as a result.
Tales reached me of Paul's similar enthusiasm for football, although I cannot recall playing in the same team during the brief "Berkhamsted CCFC" era.
I will forward this sad news to some Old Berkhamstedians who may not hear it through other channels and add my prayers and best wishes to all at Kitchener's Field.
My first memory of Paul as a cricketer was at the old town ground, when he was a colt.
We were having the weekly evening selection meeting and we all stopped to watch this very naturally skilful but powerful colt hit the ball to all parts of the ground - what was quickly apparent was that he was competitor had a cricket brain but took real enjoyment from it all.
Immediately an animated discussion broke out as to whom would select him for their adult weekend team. Thus, Paul and his 1979 kit began their journey in becoming an essential part of Berkhamsted cricket club's history and folklore.
A couple years later the club goes on its annual cricket tour to Cheltenham. As we are about depart a battered old yellow mini splutter into our car park, and open-mouthed, we watch, as from within it, emerges 3 of our tallest senior colts - Tom Hewitt Jon Neal and Paul with their cricket kit.
This mini is, not only, the vehicle to get them to the Cotswolds, but also their 'hotel'. Each morning we would have evidence of the laws of physics being defied as 3 sets of limbs protruded from various parts of the car. Thus, Paul began his experience of cricket tours, which culminated with taking Ben on tour last summer.
Fast forward many years until we reach a couple years ago, and a conversation took place that I waited many a year to hear.
'Charlie I am available to play cricket for Berko on Saturdays’ and typical Paul he said for whichever team is desperate enough to have him and Ben. Needless to say, like all those years ago, many a team wanted him.
As skipper of the Saturday 3rds, I was the lucky recipient of having him gracing this team.
A typical Saturday conversation:
'Skip want do you want me to do. 'As, I arrive last.'
'Get the flags out'
'Already done skip'
And if playing away.
'If you don't know where we are going skip' (I don’t) 'I have got the route here'
'Ok skip you have tossed up what do you want me to do?'
'Well Paul we don't have a keeper this week, could you please...'
'No problem skip'
Or 'Well Paul we don't have an opening bat, could you please...'
'No problem skip'
Or 'Well Paul this week we seem to be quite strong in the batting, so would you mind dropping down the order...'
And that conversation I hated cos I knew he had busted a gut to do hundred and one things in the morning, so he could play an afternoon of cricket.
A 3rd team game: a member of the opposition, having been bowled, is loudly abusing one of our colts with limited use of language. Paul walks up to him and points out that technically under the child protection act... A better put down I have yet to see on a cricket field.
My 50th birthday last June and 3am on the Sunday morning, supping the brandy telling tales of old and debating new ideas for the future.
10am on that Sunday morning enthusiastically training the colt’s cricket. I am still in no man's land.
November we are down the club watching the rugby and none of us have a clue about ELV's he patiently and eloquently explains.
Already that morning he had built a chicken coup and now the game was over he was off to get the chickens and take one of his kids off to somewhere and pick up another one from somewhere. Meanwhile I lazily sat at the bar.
That was the last time I saw him.
But I already have a memory of Paul for the summer of 2009.
That this club- that he so strongly helped to unite and rebuild WILL play cricket - in all its teams - in his competitive manner spirit and humour especially the Northampton exiles game.
Paul, you will never be forgotten, and the club that meant so much to you, will be there to help your family in any way it can.
I didn’t know Paul that well, I had seen him around the club now and then during my time at the club. However, having played semi regularly with him over the last season or two he was a person that you took an instant liking to. He seemed able to communicate with kids and old codgers alike - a rare talent.
He was clearly a talented player despite not having played for so long, but it was his type of personality and enthusiasm that makes playing cricket so much fun. Seeing Ben develop both as a player and into a fine young man is also testament to his qualities as a father.
Rest in peace, Paul. Enjoy the big pavilion in the sky.
It’s hard to add much to the warm and sincere words of tribute offered to Paul’s memory which are so richly deserved. So, I will just add 2 memories of my own:
The first time I met Paul I was captaining the 4th team on a warm summer’s day in 2006. Having not played for a few years he produced a bat and a set of pads that looked like they had been used by WG Grace. "I got bought these pads in '79" he said. I might have asked him if he meant 1879. That game was the first senior game he had ever played with his son Ben - and we chatted in the covers " This is what it’s all about" he said to me in between reminding Ben to pitch it up. I think in that game Paul got 4 runs and Ben got a duck, but it was also the first time that the scorecard read “Batsman caught Paul Beard bowled Ben Beard" - I can't tell you how proud Dad was with that moment.
The other memory is of Paul coaching the kids. His enthusiasm was infectious, his patience endless and he had that ability to connect - a rare talent indeed. He even managed to teach my youngest George the forward drive when he wouldn't listen to me! Earlier this week he was bubbling with enthusiasm about the forthcoming season - looking forward to coaching the Under 15s and the girls, looking forward to playing, looking forward to life. I will really miss having him around.
Paul was one of those rare people that makes a difference - he is a loss to the whole community and most especially to his family to whom Niki and I extend our deepest sympathy.
Jordan & Paul Harrison
Having 'evolved' into a cricketer at Berkhamsted under the influence and help of Paul, I can simply say it was an absolute honour and privilege to have known him. He was always a great motivator for the colt side and regularly turned up to games to watch and offer advice. I will never forget my first formal meeting with Paul. The day I came off the field after scoring my first century, he was the first to shake my hand, pat me on the back and say 'Fantastic, mate, this is just the start.' He developed a good relationship with my father who was shocked to find out this news and has asked me to pass this message on: 'I spent many hours watching our kids play cricket with Paul, there was no end to his knowledge of the game. He was a genuinely interesting, kind, and decent man. Although I did not know him very long, I will miss him very much, he made a big impression on me.'
On behalf of all the colts from the cricket and football club, to whom you have been a great inspiration, we say thank you.
Mark Herring (Fish)
Paul was full of enthusiasm both on and off the field. A real sports fan. He was hugely liked by both the boys and the girls and was always open to the kids. He was a crucial part of the coaching team. A real competitor both in adult cricket or while trying to run his daughters Molly and Sophie out on a Sunday morning. His enthusiasm rubbed off on both the older colts and on the girls while playing both cricket and on our Sunday morning cartwheel comps!!
He was supportive to all players and was willing to help in any way he could a true cricket fan!
He will be sorely missed as a player, a coach but more importantly a friend.
God bless you, a real legend
I only knew Paul this last year in the 3rds, but he was immediately welcoming to a 'new boy'. He was so giving with his time to others and warm hearted - whether on the cricket field or in the bar. I will remember Paul forever encouraging the youngsters - he understood what playing for a team was all about - the collective not the individual truly matters to him. I will miss an extremely generous man.
Peter (& Vicky, Adam, Daniel and Joseph) Drury
Paul. I'm so very proud to have been a friend of someone who knew not only how to play well...but to play properly...to play generously...to play hard...and always to enjoy.
You scored your runs in the "V"...you bowled ramrod straight despite your dodgy back...your fielding deserved a better team around it.
But none of that really matters. Where sport was concerned, you simply "got it". The ethos...the spirit...the joy of the game...the competitive edge...the beer afterwards...the friendship...the sincerely felt vocation to coach every youngster as if he/she was your own.
It was - I suddenly realise - my privilege to be at the other end when you played your last innings. We put on a few! Well - you did, whilst I watched! A big 50 if I recall...and it would have been 100 if you hadn't - typically - been chasing the game for the team.
Your Ben ran me out that day and I gave him a big bear-hug. There are plenty more where that came from, mate! Don't worry...we'll look after him...and Molly...and Sophie...and Carolyn. They miss you most...but we're all running them close right now.
You were a proper bloke...and so very much more.
God bless you, Paul. You gave so much. Thank-you.
Paul was a Club Coach, manager for the burgeoning 14/U15 colts and a stalwart of the 3rd XI (with a few cameos in the 2nds and 1sts in recent seasons) and leader-in-chief of off-pitch activities on Tour. He brought huge energy and passion to every aspect of his sports life. No mean batsman, Paul could hit the ball as far as anyone I've ever seen and was a tenacious fielder with a formidable arm.
Paul epitomized the spirit of sport, cricket and everything that is good about the club. He fostered the skills and attitude of the boys and girls he coached, regardless of talent, and was as enthusiastic coaching our first ever group of girls, including his daughters, Molly and Sophie, as he was watching his son, Ben, open the bowling for the U14s or 3rd XI, or sub-County sides. He was thrilled to see Ben take wickets on his debut for the 2nd XI and it is tragic that he won't be around to watch Ben progress through to 1st XI and beyond or his daughters establish themselves in the County Girls teams.
Paul promoted the Chairman’s Matches between the Cricket Club and Raiders, and the moment of the summer was to see Ben (representing Cricket) reverse sweeping Paul's quicker ball for four off the last ball of the innings in last year's match.
Paul was Chairman of the Raiders, our partners in sport at Kitchener's Field and it was fantastic for me as the Chairman of the Cricket Club to find someone so passionate about cricket and sports development as a colleague on the various committees and representative groups on which he worked. His common good sense, values, and ability to cut through to the chase were essential qualities that have helped contribute to the wonderful position both Clubs have achieved.
I will miss him enormously, as friend, colleague in sport and team-mate.