A few days ago I received a message from groundhopper Mark Wilkins that his Dad Ron had died. For years I’d seen Mark and Ron at games around the country, but particularly in and around west London. They were a cheery pair, and always stopped for a cup of tea and a chat, and asked where the next groundhop would be. They were often seen in Royal Marines baseball caps, picked up, like mine on the South-West Peninsula hop.
Typically of me, I knew them, but not their names, just two lovely fellows I’d catch up with at a few games each season. That changed at the first game at the first North Berkshire League Groundhop. I was nervous as to how many people would turn up to a new league so I was pleased as punch to see them, and many others at Steventon FC. They’d brought fold-up chairs, and had relaxed before kick off. Trouble is, Ron had dozed off so out came my camera….. Apparently Ron liked the picture!
I saw them last at Benson AFC near the end of last season. Ron was feeling the chill so they watched the game from Mark’s car, but as ever we stopped and had our usual chat.
On September the groundhop will return to the NBFL, and hopefully Mark will be there, and as ever we’ll stop for a chat. It won’t however quite be the same without Ron. Rest in peace my friend.