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Tributes to Shipston's cricket stalwart John Bradley who died aged 74

THE funeral of John Bradley, a long-time stalwart of Shipston Cricket Club, took place on Tuesday of last week (21st March) at St Edmund’s Church in Shipston.

John, who was born at the town’s Ellen Badger Hospital, died aged 74 at Warwick Hospital on 2nd March.

Tributes paid to John Bradley. (63242803)
Tributes paid to John Bradley. (63242803)

He was immensely popular in the cricket club. He was involved with it for 60 years, having joined the juniors in 1962 at the age of 14.

Since his playing debut as a young teenager – he was recognised as an accomplished batsman – he had been the 2nd Eleven vice-captain and captain, 1st and 2nd Eleven umpire, been a committee member and held the offices of assistant secretary, secretary, vice-chairman, chairman and president.

He also provided enormous input into the junior section as a benefactor, umpire and enthusiastic supporter.

In his eulogy John’s close friend Roger Wickson said: “He is that rare commodity that all clubs would love to have in their ranks. He will be remembered as a true champion of Shipston Cricket Club and many other organisations in the area.”

In his professional life John ran a highly successful architectural design business in Shipston, John Bradley Associates, which won many accolades and awards.

He was one of three children born to Herbert and Edith Bradley and he spent his formative years in the village of Burmington near Shipston. Some of John’s happiest memories from this time were when he was helping his grandad on his farm at High Furze, Tidmington. It gave him an appreciation of the countryside and nature in general.

John went to Shipston Primary School in 1953 and moved to the relatively new high school in 1959. “You can imagine John’s joy when he realised they had a farm at the school, and his earlier experience on his grandad’s farm helped enormously,” said Roger. “He loved nothing more than helping out whenever he was given the opportunity by the teachers who helped run the farm.”

He left school at the age of 15 without taking any exams. Fortunately in those days it wasn’t difficult getting a local job, and he started working life at A R Taylor Garages, in the stores department.

But he soon got itchy feet and wondered whether he could put to good use his love of technical drawing and innovative ideas. He applied to Earp, Badger and Cross Architects in Church Street, Stratford and joined the firm in its drawing office. He soon realised this was his calling in life.

Meanwhile, although he was pursuing his hobby of cricket, he suddenly developed a great interest in tennis after spotting a girl by the name of Susan Patrick. Eventually he and Sue married at St Edmund’s Church in October 1971.

Their daughter Rebecca was born on Christmas Eve 1975, four weeks after John had found himself unemployed, through no fault of his own. It was at this point that he set up John Bradley Associates. Their second daughter Catherine was born in October 1977.

The company went from strength to strength, with John taking on additional staff. He was building an exceptional reputation for his sensitive design of barn conversions, using reclaimed materials where possible, which was quite unusual in those days.

He got national recognition for his award-winning developments at Carters Leaze, Great Wolford. Other developments of note included the Old Council House, Rectory Court, Spinners Bridge and Telegraph Street – all in Shipston.

But his involvement with the cricket club continued unabated. Said Roger: “It seems tragic that only last year John was made a lifetime member of Shipston Cricket Club for faithful and committed service to the club for nearly six decades.

“This is the highest award given to dedicated long-serving members, and John was really moved and emotional to receive this further accolade.”

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