The Warwickshire cricket family has always been close - never closer than in the last very difficult year.
Through thick and thin, on and off the field, it is a case of once a Bear, always a Bear, whether you are a former player, a club employee, or a Member like Peter Lowe.
Peter, a Member for 15 years and an immensely popular figure at Edgbaston, puts it perfectly. “Being a Bear is in the heart and in the blood,” he says, “and it will never go away.”
For Peter, like many Warwickshire fans, it is also in the family.
“I used to go many years ago as a lad with my dad,” he recalls. “Then came work and family life to take over, but I always loved cricket and Warwickshire and about 20 years ago, when my time started freeing up a little bit, I started going to a few more one-day games. T20 came along and I went to that and got my Membership.
“I’ve been a Member for about 15 years. Before then, work commitments meant I couldn’t get to games so I just used to go to games occasionally. But when I changed jobs, I could take days off when I wanted to, so I became a Member.
“I picked my annual leave around the fixtures so, as soon as the fixture list came out, I’d get the days off booked, or half a day if the Bears were at home, because I would work in the morning and then come down and watch the Bears in the afternoon.”Pete Lowe
In no time at all, Pete was amongst a lot of new friends.
“I used to go on my own but it was amazing the amount of people I met through the club,” he said. “I have made a lot of friends among the Members and last year, when we weren’t able to watch cricket at the ground, I still met up with them and went out with them for a catch-up when we could.
“It is a family. We all meet up and go for a day out at a game. You also make friends from other counties too which is nice and very different to football where sometimes there’s such hatred between clubs. In cricket, of course, you want your team to do the best, but you tend to make friends by going to other grounds and them coming to ours. I’ve got friends who are Lancashire fans and Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire.
“Games at Worcester are always special and it was fantastic when we won the championship there in 2012. What a great year that was – Rikki Clarke, Ian Bell, Trotty, Boyd Rankin, Keith Barker and Chris Wright. There was not one player that did not give 100 per cent.
“Rikki was my favourite. He is a nice guy, really down-to-earth, and I am still in contact with him. Some people gave Rikki a bit of a hard time but there was a group of us who started talking to him and getting behind him and it evolved from there. It was a good friendship and still is and it’s nice that can happen.
“That’s one of the special things about cricket. In football you don’t get players coming into the bar to have a chat with you. They’re on the coach and away. In cricket, the players are part of the family.”Pete Lowe
Pete is one of many Bears members who donated their 2020 membership fee to the club despite having no cricket to watch. The club’s heartfelt thanks go to him and all the members who made that brilliant gesture.
“I decided straight away to donate it,” he said. “Even before the club decided what to do, I had already made my mind up because I knew the difficulties the club was going to face financially with no white-ball cricket.
“I know my membership fee is a drop in the ocean but I just want to help. I’ve got a three-year membership so still have two years left and then, when my two years are up, touch wood, if I’m still alive and kicking, I’ll join again after that. And then again for as long as I can…once a Bear, always a Bear!”
2023 Membership: Join the Bears family
Membership for 2023 is on sale now and is the best value way to support the Bears this summer.
A variety of Memberships are available from as little as £95, including Full Club Memberships which offer entry to every home Warwickshire match plus a host of exclusive benefits.