Alan and Jill Rowles
The involvement of the Rowles family with sport in Wherwell is legendary. The brothers Sid, Ernie, Alan, David and Dennis were at the core of the cricket and football teams in the 1950s, and have continued to play and to lead in the Clubs' management and development long since. For nearly half a century the five brothers, sister Doreen and their partners, their children and grandchildren have had a constant and prominent presence at matches, committee meetings, and fund raising and social events.
While the Rowles clan have always worked and played well together, we can single out Alan and Jill and their children as a shining example of how a family can make a difference in a village community. To see three generations of the family working with gang mowers, sit-on mower and hedge trimmer to prepare the field for Sid's cricket day earlier this month was inspiring, but far from unusual.
Jill and Alan, pictured at their wedding, met in the fifties and married in 1959. They lived for a while in Chilbolton, but Alan enjoyed his time as a railwayman so much that in 1962 they moved into the old station at Wherwell and have lived there ever since. He later joined the family plumbing business and, even after his retirement, is happy to give friends in the village the benefit of his skills. Jill spent her working life in and around Wherwell, in the village shops and in other local pursuits, until a dramatic career move led to her selling garden furniture and Christmas specialities at the Andover garden centre.
Jill and Alan's contribution to sport in Wherwell has been tremendous. Jill would claim not to have been to a football match before she met Alan, and she has him to thank for the introduction to sport, sitting on and chairing a committee for thirty years, preparing and serving teas on summer weekends for 22 cricketers and standing knee deep in the trench she was digging for the drains at the new pavilion, watched with admiration by passing sportsmen on their way to their matches. She is pictured putting the finishing screw into the new pavilion roof.
Alan's dedication is best illustrated by his unique status as the only holder of honorary life membership of the Wherwell Cricket Club, Football Club and Playing Fields Management Committee. He has served as a sports club secretary for a total of over sixty years, and toiled long and patiently as fixture secretary for the cricket club, a most arduous task, and vital to keep the club going. He also found time to play in the team for 55 years. Alan's most recent success has been the running of the pavilion bar, which has underpinned the social side of sport at Wherwell and contributed valuable funds to the field.
Jill is also an honorary member of the Playing Fields Committee. If there were an award for forty years of making teas she'd have won that too - the quality of her teas is also legendary.
Their children have carried on the tradition. Angela has been Playing Fields Committee secretary for a number of years, has quietly kept the pavilion and other facilities clean and up to scratch and is always there when there's work to be done - her son Scott also plays for the cricket team. Andrew has played cricket and football for Wherwell, and made a valuable contribution to building and fitting out the new pavilion. Richard is also a cricketer and has done great things on committees and at fundraising including organising a an exciting variety of balloon race at the annual Fete. He also put Wherwell online by creating the village's own website, WWW.WHERWELL.NET
Wherwell Anthology XIX First published August 1992