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Obituary - Don Cutler

Updated: Jan 26

Don Cutler

With the passing of Don Cutler, the Club has lost one of its finest players, a widely respected and generous former Club President and a true Gentleman.

Don joined the Club in 1954 from Great Gaddesden where he was a fast bowler, although when a back problem curtailed his bowling ambitions, he became a very fine top-order batsman and good slip fielder. In his younger days, he was a fine footballer, playing for Pioneer Corinthians – in fact he was a fine all-round sportsman, playing golf twice a week into his eighties until a heart problem in 2019 sadly ended this activity.

Don became Club Captain in 1970, a position he held for two years. He also played for Bedfordshire and rather more surprisingly also made an appearance for the North Welsh minor county, Merionethshire, now part of Gwynedd. His business contacts, engaging personality and undoubted cricket skills resulted in numerous matches for invitation sides playing “country-house” cricket. It is believed through one of these contacts the invitation to play Welsh Minor Counties cricket arose!

As a batsman Don was elegant and correct, preferring to stroke along the ground rather than hit over the top. This style, coupled with his unflappable temperament, makes the story recalled separately by both Colin Tibbett and Brian Chapman more remarkable. Playing away at Luton, Don was accused of being a blocker by their fast bowler. “Pitch it up and we’ll see” was Don’s reply. When the next ball was pitched up, Don hit it for 6, high into the trees at Wardown Park. Don didn’t need to say anything – anyone who knew him would know he was not a man to gloat.

Don became Club President in 1985. Not only was he a hugely popular President he was a generous benefactor of the club, both through significant financial support for Presidents Day and through the services of his company, Marandon Engineering to manufacture or repair ground equipment.

Don moved to Dorset in the mid-1990s. He did initially stay on as Club President, with the Club’s full support. However, it says much about Don, that as he believed he could not do the job as thoroughly as he wanted, he stood down in 1996. By then he had played a significant role in organising fixtures for the Club to tour Dorset, which we did, based in Bournemouth, for four consecutive years from 1994. On at least one occasion Don played for his local club against the touring Dunstable side, at around the age of 60.

But for all his undoubted cricketing skills and achievements, it is as a gentleman that we will remember him most fondly. A kind, modest man who always had time for others with an unflappable temperament. He had an almost unique social skill, whenever you met him he made you feel like you were the only person he had come to meet.

His last few years were dogged by ill health. But he coped with his illness with great fortitude and the loving care of his wife Rosemary.

Leaving the final word to Brian Chapman, our current President – “Don was a Gentlemen but he was also a gentleman”

Complied by John McDougal, with thanks to Brian Chapman, Colin Tibbett and Pat Feakes

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