Tribute to Simon Porter

This was the tribute  given  by  the  President  of  Oxford  University Cricket  Club,  Francis  Neate, at the reception in the pavilion in The Parks on 3rd March 2017, following Simon Porter’s funeral earlier that day.

SIMON PORTER’S CONTRIBUTION TO OUCC WAS EXCEPTIONAL AND LONG LASTING, YET THIS COULD NEVER BE PROPERLY VALUED OR APPRECIATED. WE HAVE HEARD OF SIMON’S MANY OTHER ROLES DURING THE FUNERAL SERVICE. IT’S APPROPRIATE NOW FOR US TO REMEMBER SIMON’S SERVICE TO OUCC, IN THE PAVILION WHERE HE WAS IN CHARGE. ALTHOUGH SIMON WOULD HAVE BEEN THE LAST PERSON TO SAY THAT HE WAS “IN CHARGE” OF OUCC. LET ME EXPLAIN WHAT I MEAN.

STUDENT CRICKET CLUBS ARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CRICKET CLUBS. THE MAIN REASON WHY THEY ARE DIFFERENT IS THAT THE PLAYERS NEVER INTEND TO STAY. WHEREAS MOST CRICKETERS LOOK FOR A TEAM THAT THEY WANT TO PLAY FOR  AS LONG AS THEY CAN, STUDENTS, AFTER ONE, TWO OR THREE YEARS, MOVE ON. THERE IS NO PROSPECT OF CONTINUITY.

SIMON JUST STAYED – HE PLAYED FOR THE AUTHENTICS, BECAME THEIR SECRETARY, PLAYED FOR THE UNIVERSITY, AND SEAMLESSLY BECAME THEIR SENIOR TREASURER. HE WAS THE ONE WHO PROVIDED THE CONTINUITY.

SIMON’S SERVICE TO OUCC WAS EXCEPTIONAL    EXCEPTIONAL  IN  EVERY SENSE  OF THE WORD, EXCEPTIONAL BECAUSE HE WAS WILLING AND MORE THAN  QUALIFIED TO TAKE ON THE ONGOING RESPONSIBILITY, EXCEPTIONAL BECAUSE HE QUIETLY GOT ON WITH WHAT HAD TO BE DONE WITHOUT NEED OF RECOGNITION.

IT WAS ONLY ABOUT TWO YEARS AFTER  I  BECAME  PRESIDENT, WHEN SIMON FELL SERIOUSLY ILL, THAT I BECAME AWARE OF THE EXTENT OF SIMON’S RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE ONGOING ACTIVITIES OF OUCC. I  DON’T KNOW EXACTLY  WHEN  SIMON  FIRST TOOK THEM ON, ALL I KNOW IS THAT HE CARRIED THOSE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. DURING THAT TIME I HEARD SIMON VARIOUSLY DESCRIBED AS CHAIRMAN, TREASURER, SENIOR MEMBER AND NO DOUBT OTHER TITLES.  ARGUABLY, ALL WERE CORRECT, BECAUSE HE ALONE SHOULDERED ALL THESE TASKS MOST OF THE TIME.

WHATEVER HIS TITLE, THE FACT IS THAT FOR MANY YEARS,  AS CAPTAINS CAME AND WENT, SIMON  WAS THE ONLY  NON-STUDENT  MEMBER OF OUCC WHO TOOK ONGOING RESPONSIBILITY FROM ONE YEAR TO THE NEXT. USUALLY UNSEEN AND UNHEARD, HE JUST GOT ON WITH IT. EVEN TODAY, I AM NOT SURE THAT I FULLY UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING THAT HE NEEDED TO KEEP AN EYE ON. TO PUT IT SIMPLY, SIMON WAS OUCC, AND OUCC WAS SIMON.

OUCC WILL ALWAYS BE DEEPLY IN SIMON’S DEBT.  I AM GLAD TODAY TO BE ABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR DEBT TO SIMON ON BEHALF OF THE MANY CRICKETERS WHO PLAYED FOR OUCC AND THEN MOVED ON, BUT NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY OR, IN MANY CASES, NEVER EVEN REALISED, HOW MUCH WE OWED TO SIMON’S UNSTINTING AND SELDOM RECOGNISED SUPPORT.

THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING HIM.