Most Warwickshire Members are based pretty close to Edgbaston but, for some, it is a long-distance love affair. Take Durham-based Peter Hemming, for example, who has watched the Bears for some 50 years, ever since choosing to take his degree in Coventry partly because it was close to Edgbaston.
“When I went to university and realised there were companies that would sponsor me, I chose Rolls Royce in Coventry, and the local polytechnic,” recalls Peter, “and Warwickshire County Cricket Club was part of the attraction.
“I was interested in county cricket so I thought I might as well go to a place with a good club. I could have gone to Manchester University which was far better than Lanchester Poly, as it then was, but I chose Coventry and first saw Warwickshire at Courtaulds ground in the city.
“I’ve watched the Bears since the late 60s. I used to watch them at Griff & Coton, in Nuneaton, and saw Bob Willis’s first game. It was for the 2nds because he had to qualify and I saw him at Bedworth.Peter Hemming
“Then I spent a few years working abroad (when I was working in Sweden I once flew over for a game) and when I came back to the north east and started working at ICI at Billingham, I realised I could get down to Birmingham to watch the cricket alright, so I joined as a member.
“I normally watch about ten or 12 of the four-day games, if the wife allows me to. The trouble is, she moves furniture while I am away.
“It’s a three-hour trip on the train but I do about six home games and some T20s. If the Bears have games on Friday and Sunday, I’ll stay over and go somewhere like Knowle & Dorridge on the Saturday so I get three games of cricket in the weekend.”
Peter’s deep passion for cricket and the Bears made it a very easy decision for him to donate his Membership to the Club this year – a gesture which is hugely appreciated by the Club.
“To donate my Membership was a no-brainer,” he said. “The virus isn’t the Club’s fault. It’s been difficult for everyone this year but the club has done a great job in giving us lots of stuff to read and watch on the website. I look at the website regularly and like the streaming of games.”
Like everyone connected to the Bears, Peter can’t wait to get back to Edgbaston next year and properly catch up again with his many friends in the great Bears family.
“I know lots of people at Edgbaston and have some really good friends there. The ground is brilliant and the members’ bar is the best around. I don’t think anyone else has got a members’ bar like that, one storey up with a fantastic viewing behind the bowlers’ arm. The stewards are all very polite, it’s just brilliant.
“I have got so many great memories of watching the Bears and great players from Rohan Kanhai and MJK Smith, to Eddie Hemmings, who I played against when he was at Lockheed Leamington, Allan Donald, Ian Blackwell and Rikki Clarke.
“I’ve been to every Finals Day except one…I normally buy Finals Day ticket about five minutes after they go on sale. The Surrey victory at Lord’s in 2016 was fantastic but the one that stands out was when we won the title at Worcester in 2012.
“I’ve got a photograph of myself sat with Darren Maddy, Recordo Gordon and Laurie Evans. I had Test match tickets for Trent Bridge that day but forewent them to go to Worcester. I’m so glad I did!”Peter Hemming
Membership 2021: Buy before 1 February & save £25
Membership for the 2021 season is on sale, with prices frozen across all categories. Be part of the #BearsFamily next summer and you can save £25 if you purchase before our 1 February Early Bird deadline.