David Lomas: a Croydon “gadfly” who did much for local kids

ANDREW PELLING joins the tributes from football and cricket to a hard-working Croydon volunteer

Croydon has said goodbye to a notable character, eccentric and former teacher at a funeral service festooned with cricket and Football  Association blazers and the white rose of Yorkshire.

Tribute to Lomas: Michael Carberry, right, the Hampshire and England batsman who had a record-breaking innings against Yorkshire last week on the day of David Lomas's funeral, wore a black armband throughout in memory of his former mentor

A Yorkshireman, but very much a fixture in the Croydon firmament, David Lomas was remembered last Thursday at Christ Church, West Croydon, by national and Croydon schools sports associations, his family from across the globe, a former MP and two previous Croydon mayors.

Edward Handley, the president of Croydon Schools’ Cricket Association announced that Lomas’s dedicated work for schools cricket, football and table tennis would be marked by the annual Croydon schools match at Arundel Castle in future being played for the David Lomas Trophy.

Handley also criticised Croydon’s great and the good for failing to secure a more formal honour for Lomas.

Notable football sporting names whose budding talents were helped by David Lomas included Nigel Reo-Coker, Steve Sidwell and Kieran Gibbs and in the current Crystal Palace squad Sean Scannell, Nathaniel Pinney and Lee Hills.

Always ready to help: David Lomas, right, typically helping in the background, as the local MP of the time, Andrew Pelling, makes the presentations at a Croydon schools' football final

Croydon’s schools football, according to Peter Westlake, the Secretary of the Croydon Schools’ FA, is also looking at a possible memorial through a David Lomas Cup for under 18’s football.

Perhaps the most spectacular testament was paid to the long serving schools cricket administrator when Michael Carberry, sporting a black arm band to remember David Lomas, struck 300 not out for Hampshire against Lomas’ home county of Yorkshire and then walked off the pitch to dedicate his marathon innings to Lomas.

Carberry, whose mother was at the funeral while her son began accumulating the fifth highest total ever for a Hampshire batman, told the Daily Telegraph, “David was with me right through from under 13 and I owe him such a lot. David always had great faith in me.”

Other top cricketers Lomas mentored were Surrey and England players Mark Butcher and Ali Brown, and David Sales, who went on to captain Northamptonshire.

Lomas’s interest in Croydon politics was recalled in his being “a gadfly” to local politicians. His humour was summed up in a remark picked up by non-plussed inspectors from a time when he worked for National Rail Enquiries. Answering a customer’s question about the quickest way to Barnstaple, Lomas advised dryly: “Go by bus”.

A booklet of David Lomas anecdotes is being collated by Howard Lomas, who can be e-mailed on howard.lomas@zen.co.uk.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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