Cricket: Farewell to Sudbury legend

A teacher and cricketer who became one of the MCC's first coaches to qualify through Lilleshall and captained Sudbury Cricket Club a record nine times has died at the age of 88.

A teacher and cricketer who became one of the MCC's first coaches to qualify through Lilleshall and captained Sudbury Cricket Club a record nine times has died at the age of 88.

Peter Shepperson was born on January 12, 1921, on Vancouver Island, Canada. His father, Ted, was a Fenman from Whittlesey who had sought his fortune in Canada before the First World War. Having signed up for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Ted fought in the trenches of Flanders, surviving to return to Canada to establish a farming business.

The family returned to England in 1925; to Snetterton in Norfolk, as Ted “missed his cricket and English beer”. Peter attended the village school and progressed to Thetford Grammar School in 1933. Another family move, this time to Brundon in Suffolk, brought Peter to Sudbury Grammar School in 1935.

He first played cricket for Sudbury in 1937. The outbreak of war in 1939 denied him a university place, and Peter joined the RNVR in 1940. He married Daisy Ellen Blythe in 1941. During the war Peter served first on minesweepers out of Dover, then landing craft in the Mediterranean and finally in India and Burma.


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In 1947, he attended a one-year emergency teacher training course at Wymondham College in Norfolk, before taking up a teaching appointment at the Modern Secondary School in Mill Lane, Sudbury, where he taught English and Games. At the same time, he and his friends set about re-establishing Sudbury Cricket Club, and later the Hockey and Tennis clubs, on the Friars Street Ground.

In 1950 he attended the first-ever residential course for cricket coaches at Lilleshall and he put to good use his coaching skills, both at school and club. During the 1950s, Sudbury Cricket Club grew in strength and gained a reputation for producing good players and strong teams. In 1958 the Friars Street Sports Ground Association was formed, which enabled the club to lease the ground from its owners. Peter captained the Sudbury CC for nine of the years between 1949 and 1961. He proved himself a useful and elegant opening bat, an occasional bowler and a shrewd captain.

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In 1962, a teaching promotion took the Shepperson family to Letchworth in Hertfordshire. Peter taught at Willian School for the rest of career, holding with great distinction the posts of Head of English and Head of Sixth Form. In 1974 he was delighted to gain, through the Open University, the BA degree that the Second World War had denied him. He played very little cricket after leaving Sudbury, but was appointed a Life Vice-President of Sudbury CC in 1989. Over the years he enjoyed his occasional visits to the Friars Street ground during Cricket Week. On retirement from teaching in 1987 he moved to Devon where he enjoyed a long and restful later life. Reading remained a passion and he developed his love of gardening.

His wife predeceased him in 2006, but he is survived by his daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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