Brian Butterworth Obituary, Death – We reported the death of much-loved former President Brian Butterworth last week with deep grief. Brain died quietly in the early hours of March 16th, after a brief illness. He was 95 years old. The funeral will be held at Rochdale Crematorium on Wednesday, April 5th, at 10:30 a.m. Following that, a memorial service will be held at Norden Cricket Club. Brian was a former player, club secretary, and president, the latter of which he held for 30 years. As President, he was usually present at League presentations, dressed immaculately in his blazer. He was an excellent club representative.
Brian was important in the negotiations when we applied to join the Central Lancashire Cricket League, and we were admitted from Division 2 of the Lancashire and Cheshire League. The CLL membership was the impetus that allowed the Club to progress from a village club to a city club. Brian was also at the center of any legal issues because he worked for Toomey and Goodwin and was close friends with Bill Goodwin.
Alan Hyland took over as stewardess after long-serving stewardess Pauline North retired in the mid-2000s. Brian and Alan became inextricably linked, and Brian seemed to spend even more time at the club. The weekly meat raffle was launched by the two to raise extra revenue for the club. As the saying goes, great things grow from small acorns. The raffle was quite popular and raised a significant amount of money. The proceeds were reinvested in Clubhouse fixtures and fittings. Even when Alan retired, Brian would take the bus to Norden every Friday evening to sell tickets and collect money, and he took his job very seriously. The Meat Raffle ran for 14 years and raised almost £25,000 for the club.
Brian’s outstanding service to the club was recognized in 2014 when he was nominated for an Outstanding Services to Cricket award, which was presented at Old Trafford. Brian was the winner of the award and was invited to the national finals in London. While Brian did not win the overall prize, it was an incredible event for him to be presented with his award by former England captain Mike Gatting.
Mike North remembers; “Brian’s claim to fame in cricket is bowling the Pro at Heywood, however he did concede that this was in the nets” (he played at Heywood before coming to Norden). Leslie Welch (The Memory Man) was a television personality who toured the country with his sports memory program in the 1940s and 1950s. He also featured in eight Royal Command Performances. He visited Rochdale and performed at The Champness Hall, and Brian and his friend (Jack Pilkington) went to see him. Have you got a question for Jack, B? Brian stated that I have, but we don’t know if he will choose me.
Brian was chosen by chance, and his question was, “Can you tell me Ranjitsinhji’s batting average in 1898?” Leslie Welch rambled on about Ranji, saying Saheb of Nawagana performed at Sussex around the turn of the century, and so on. He then asked Brian whether he knew it, and Brian responded yes and gave it to him. “Well, we only have your word for that,” Leslie Welch said. “Well, what was it in 1899?” Brian said. “There are hundreds and thousands of averages in cricket, and picking one out would be practically difficult,” Brian added.
Brian himself had an amazing memory, which he demonstrated many times over the years by recalling various teams in cricket, football, and rugby league. I went to see him last October with Alan Hyland and I mentioned to Brian could he still remember Manchester United’s Championship side of 1948? He said tell me the keeper and I’ll do it! I said Jack Crompton and he proceeded to give me the complete side! Brian was also a terrific vocalist, and he once entertained a few of us late at night from behind the Club bar with his rendition of Katari (a Neapolitan song).
As we all know, he served on the Committee as Secretary for many years and was formerly Treasurer as well. To my knowledge, he has only missed one Committee meeting. This occurred while he was working in Pensions for Turners in Manchester. We met for tea at the Circus Tavern (my Manchester hangout). The pub was a large card playing establishment where large sums of money were wagered. I asked Brian whether he played Nine card don! He gave me a scornful stare, clearly offended that I should question him. We then played with Brian as my partner. As time passed and it became clear that we would not be meeting that night, I called to apologize (I’m not sure what excuse I gave). Ultimately, at closing time, we got a taxi back to Norden through Radcliffe because his Turners assistant Tracy was with us!!