Frank Wray Varley: [Heath 1931–1936]

Frank W. Varley died very suddenly but quite peacefully on . Frank and I have so much enjoyed reading the HOBA Newsletters, particularly as our sons, Nigel and Simon, are also Old Heathens and they always found news of someone who had been a household name in their schooldays. The following is a tribute to his father written by Nigel and read by him at the funeral service:

A tribute to our Dad

Our father was a good and proud man; he cared about people and he cared about what they thought about him. He was born in Yorkshire and spent most of his life there. He loved many things including his family, his work and the charitable work he did within the community and he also had a deep love of cricket. I would like to liken his life to a game of cricket.

He arrived at the crease in 1920 to commence his innnings. He family were his team and the spectators were his friends. He started patiently and slowly because that was the type of man he was. He didn't have flamboyant and extravagant shots; his team didn’t want that. They wanted a player they could depend on and he certainly fitted the bill.

To build a firm innings you need a partner you can trust, someone who will support you and keep their end up. He found that partner when he had reached 32; that partner was my mother. During his innings the rest of his team arrived. Each were to love and admire him; they refreshed him with their affection and he, by the same token, played a good straight bat because his team needed him.

It wasn’t all plain sailing; life seldom is. He had times when he hit a sticky patch but his partner would stride down the wicket and give him the confidence he needed and he would be off again striking the ball sweetly. There were a couple of times when he could have been out but the umpires declined the appeal and he carried on; it was not time to go.

When he reached 76 his partner was nearly dismissed. I believe that, if she had been given out, he would have declared; he needed her desperately. She wasn’t given out and he dug in again, filled with joy but also aware that they could appeal again.

Last Saturday, on a glorious morning, God came in to bowl. Our Dad didn’t know God; he had never faced him before. God knew this and was kind to him; he didn’t bowl bouncers and try to inflict pain on him; he just sent down a delivery our Dad couldn’t play and he cleaned bowled him. Our father was given out.

He left the field of play; his team cheered him because they knew he had played his best and given them some marvellous memories. The spectators stood and admired him because he had had a great innings. He has now gone to the dressing room where he will be meeting some of his former team players and spectators who left before the end of the game. His team will not forget the innings he played, the enjoyment and pleasure he gave us. He was always there for us with advice and guidance, sometimes without being asked but always well-meaning. I hope the spectators here today and those who could not make it will not forget him; he was unique.

Frank Wray Varley, bowled God ............ 77

Audrey Varley

We send our sympathy to Audrey, Nigel and Simon.

First appeared in the Newsletter dated .