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January 2021


Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land,

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that I once had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rosetti (1830 – 1894)




The Funeral of Graeme Askham

The funeral of Graeme Askham took place on Thursday 7th January at 3 pm. Due to Covid restrictions only 30 people were allowed to attend the service, A live feed of the service was available. The family thanked everyone for their kind cards and messages of condolence. Graeme suffered from ill health for many years and he was cared for magnificently by several hospitals in Leicester. If you could spare a small amount in memory of Graeme, the charity can be accessed at:

……. and others might benefit from your generosity.

There have been very few really close friends in my life and Graeme was certainly one of them. He laughed at my eccentricities and kept in check my excesses, especially on football trips. We had great fun – it always was a great experience going out to football with Graeme – and we were never short of conversation. I am so sad that he had to leave us so soon!!!!

7th August 2019 – Belton Villa 4 Sutton Bonington 1 PSF att:- 16

Laurence Reade said:- “Not the way I wanted to say farewell to Graeme Askham but I’ve 3 days’ self isolation left so was fortunate there was a feed available. We’ve lost a good man in Graeme and thought Eddie spoke beautifully. I will never be able to walk past a Chinese takeaway and not think of my friend Graeme. Rest in peace”.



For much of what is written here, I am indebted to Graeme’s younger brother Nigel who includes the following in his farewell to his “Big Bro”

Born on 8th February 1956 Graeme was a much loved first son for Marjorie and Geoffrey following the tragic loss of baby Janet.

He was joined in March 1959 by a brother Richie and in February 1961 by Nigel.

3rd October 2020 Worcester Raiders 3 Bilston Town 2

WMRL Premier Division Attendance:- 300

Growing up in the Bradford Moor area there were early signs of the competition between the three Askham boys. When Richie was lazing away an afternoon in his pram in the garden, Graeme showed his thoughts on Richie’ s arrival by using his plastic toy spade to shovel soil all over his younger brother.

There were also reports of Richie’s pram being mischievously pushed into Bradford Moor Park lake with Graeme the chief suspect even to this day!!  
Marjorie also recalls Graeme pleading with his father Geoffrey to send the angelic-looking Richie “back where he came from”!!!!! 

Graeme was strong willed and liked to rule the roost in those early exchanges with his siblings and was also a handful for mother, Marjorie on many occasions – once rolling up his sleeves in the waiting room of the doctor’s surgery and stirring up the fish tank to help the occupants swim a little faster and also helping to hydrate them by filling their tank with his orange juice!!!

The Askham boys all moved on through school before moving to Shipley where Marjorie and Geoffrey bought and ran a newsagents shop.

24th October 2020 Allscott Heath 6 Old Wulfrunians 1

WMRL Division 1 Attendance:- 42

On the sports field Graeme was frankly dreadful at football – and ended where most poor footballers end up – as a goalkeeper!! He always talked about the ONE save of note any of us can remember him making for our neighbourhood team Avondale Rovers.

Rushing from his area, he dived at the feet of an on-rushing striker, and probably closed his eyes too, but by some miracle ended up with the ball securely in his hands 

January 11th 2020 Crawley Town 2 Bradford City 1

EFL League 2 Attendance:- 2,361

One of the team’s dads was watching with his dog which promptly barked it’s appreciation of Graham’s save – or that’s what big brother always told us. We were always sure a cat had walked past!!!!

Graeme and Richie played cricket together for Saltaire and later Great Horton Church. Richie was a swashbuckling all-rounder – equally erratic with bat and ball!

Meanwhile Graeme based his game on his boyhood hero Geoffrey Boycott – slow and methodical was probably the kindest description, but Graeme stuck with his tried and tested method hardly hitting the ball off the square and NEVER, EVER in the air. He often told me the tale of one match where he opened, but his partner faced the first over and struck each ball for a boundary, but, in the very next over, when it was Graeme’s turn to bat, he was out, first ball!

Graeme and John Main at The Old Wheatsheaf in Frimley Green

25th January 2020 Frimley Green 2 Egham 1

Combined Counties League Premier Division Attendance:- 86

Back at school Graeme underlined his studios nature by passing his 11-plus and achieving a place at Bingley Grammar School while Richie gained a place at Beckfoot Grammar School just down the road and Nigel followed as the five year difference between him and Graeme meant the elder Askham would soon be on his way to teacher training college in Chester.

Graeme took to life his new surroundings and bravely kept on with his studies despite the tragic loss of his father Geoffrey in 1979 and after his successful training was on the road again for his first teaching role at St Johns Church of England Primary in Friern Barnet north London.

Whilst there he met his first wife and after several years down south this lover of all things Yorkshire returned to his home county and became the proud father of Rachel, Becca and Sarah. He taught at Oxenhope Primary on the outskirts of Haworth.

A few years on and it was off to Leicester and finally Rolleston Primary where he eventually took early retirement and started a new life with Rose, who’s been a tower of strength for several years, including seven years as Mrs Askham and helped him through his numerous health battles with love and always with good humour. 

More recently he kept in touch with younger brother Nigel on a daily basis through his love of betting – very, very SMALL amounts on horse racing! Check his Paddy Power account Rose, you might have enough for portion of fried rice or maybe, even, a slap-up takeaway!!!

They also attended football together when they could. Nigel is a season ticket holder at Bradford City and Graeme would attend with him when he was visiting Yorkshire. Graeme was a fan of Bradford’s other team Park Avenue (hence the green and white scarves today!).

John Main and Graeme at:-

7th December 2019 Knaphill 0 Banstead Athletic 0

Combined Counties League Premier Division Attendance:- 67

He poked fun at Bradford City whenever he could and on telephone calls with Nigel would usually start the conversation with: “How did City get on this weekend?!!!”

He knew the result, of course, and would ask Nigel for every last detail so he could mock their demise.

One of their last games together was on the most recent of our annual trips. Every year, the group assembled for a match with hospitality, at a ground not previously visited and earlier expeditions had been to Brentford, Bristol City, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Gillingham, and Millwall.  Last January, Nigel joined us because on our latest outing we were off to deepest Sussex where Crawley Town were playing …… Bradford City! Even more recently, Josh arranged a hospitality visit to his football club, Lutterworth Town, for an FA Cup match against Staveley. We even had our names on the seats in the stand and coffee, tea and biscuits at half-time.

Graeme and John Main at:-

4th August 2019 Tottenham Hotspur 1 Inter Milan 1

International Champions Cup Attendance:- 58,905

Graeme and I met many years ago at a small town in Wales – Montgomery. I had known him before as he was well acquainted with the football ‘hopping’ community, but Montgomery Town was the first of well over 500 football matches that we attended together, not just in this country, but in Scotland and Wales, Ireland  (north and south) and Holland, where his favourite ground was PSV Eindhoven. 

We were not similar. Graeme considered my politics somewhere to the left of Mao Tse Tung, whilst I thought that his were well to the right of Attila The Hun. We were at opposite ends of The Brexit argument. He hailed from superior Yorkshire, whereas my roots were in down-to-earth Lancashire – and he never failed to let me know if Yorkshire beat Lancashire, or if his beloved Bradford Park Avenue beat Chorley. He had a great and long-lasting love of Tottenham Hotspur, whereas I considered all London clubs as Southern Softies.

Seated on the left, Graeme Askham and on the right, Johnny Holland. Eddie McGeown standing behind!

25th August 2019 Cefn Forest 4 Gilwern & District 1

Gwent County League Division 2 Attendance:- 247

For all our differences, we were well matched. We had both been Primary School teachers, we both enjoyed cryptic crosswords, we both enjoyed a good meal as part of the action on a football outing. I was well aware of how unfair was Graeme’s life, but he never complained and always made the most of every opportunity – and took every opportunity to poke a bit of fun, as when we were in Herenveen in The Netherlands for a night match and outside the station, I went over to what I thought was the taxi rank and requested transport to the ground, only to find out that it was police car and the only place they would transport me to was the local nick!

It has been lovely to read what former pupils and teacher colleagues and football friends have posted. It shows how much Graeme was admired, liked and respected. 

5th September 2020 Upton Town 3 Tamworth Academy 2

Midland League Division 3 Attendance:- 43

Just like all his family and friends they have treasured memories of Nigel’s very special ‘Big Bro”. 

And finally, a short poem…. especially adapted for Graeme:

Why I Love football

Why do you love football? 

What do you see in it? 

Why not watch another sport

Like Rugby, Golf, or Cricket? 


Well let me answer that my friend

And put your mind at rest

I love the beautiful game

Because it’s simply the best


No other sport is as exciting

No other comes quite as near

Football games create such passion

And bags of atmosphere


A good football match is a joy to watch

And thousands go to every game

You get goals and lots of action

The fans are so glad that they came


So yes my friend I do love football

It’s by far the number one sport for me

So while you’re watching Golf and Cricket

I’ll be watching Bradford Park Avenue F.C. 

Sleep Tight, Graeme!


Saturday 9th January 2021

The early morning sun could hardly pierce the shroud of mist which swathed the landscape on the path to Thorpe-by-Water, but by the time Lyddington was reached (and I got my Walkmeter to work!), the sun was bursting through across a cerulean firmament. Over the fields to Caldecott and then the medieval village of Snelston, now bisected by the A6003 before descending across more fields to Stoke Dry and the Eyebrook Reservoir, constructed in 1937 to provide water for the burgeoning steelworks in Corby. A paper thin sheet of ice covered large swathes of the surface of the lake and the sun was so fierce that it was difficult to see ahead! Around the lake to Great Easton where the mist again descended, increasingly blotting out the now grey orb of the sun. After Rockingham, the melting surface had softened the fields to quagmires and made the journey back to Gretton quite treacherous! Nine stiles and 14.5 miles.

The War Memorial in Gretton

The bridge across The River Welland at Thorpe by Water

Overhead, the track bed of the former Rugby to Peterborough line at Thorpe by Water


The long hill down to Stoke Dry from the medieval village of Snelston

The Eyebrook Reservoir

Ice, a thin coating on The Eyebrow Reservoir

St Andrew’s Church, Great Easton

The Sun Inn at Great Easton



Sunday 17th January 2021

With so much water about it was enough to wander down to Gretton Weir – and not very far beyond – to see the extent of the flooding across the valley and the roads that traversed it! It was as bad as I’ve ever seen, but worse is to come next week, I hear! Very friendly donkeys on the way down and several vehicles (mostly 4x4s) traversed the valley floor! 3.6 miles – no stiles!

The friendly Donkeys on the way down to The Gretton Weir

Gretton Weir

The Lyddington Road beyond Gretton Weir


Thursday 21st January 2020

The road across The Welland Valley from Gretton to Lyddington is still a major hazard and the valley itself resembles a major lake, whilst Gretton Weir is as high as I’ve ever seen it!

Gretton Weir, as high as I have seen it!

Gretton Weir

From the bridge at Gretton Weir looking in the opposite direction

Looking towards Lyddington from Gretton Weir

The flooded road between Gretton Weir and the old waterworks

A panoramic view of the road to Lyddington from Gretton Weir

The flooded Welland Valley


Saturday 23rd January 2021

On a mild, but murky morning, under the lugubrious gaze of St James’ Parish Church, I set out (beclad in wellingtons), for Thorpe-by-Water. The ground was very heavy, cloying and flooded in parts. The River Welland was swollen, but there was evidence that it had risen much higher. Seaton stood out on the far side of the valley and The Welland Viaduct was starkly visible in the distance. In Seaton, the school bell was plainly displayed above the old school house and Bisbrooke greeted the intrepid traveller with the church of St John The Baptist. After Uppingham and a heavy dusting of snow, the clouds gently drifted apart over The Eyesbrook Reservoir and then it was down to Lyddington (Church of St Andrew) and the sodden(but no longer flooded) road back to Gretton, where even the weir had drawn back from its peak of a couple of days ago! Six stiles and 14.14 miles.

The parish church off St James, Gretton

The swollen River Welland on the way to Thorpe by Water

The bridge over the weir at Thorpe by Water

The Welland Viaduct

Walking up to Seaton village, the old school is on the left.

The Welland Viaduct and floods below it!

The old school house in Seaton

The church of St John The Baptist in Bisbrooke

A dusting of snow along the path leading to Uppingham

Above (and below), The Eyebrook Reservoir under a gloomy firmament.

Lyddington and the parish church of St Andrew.

Gretton Weir


Monday 25th January 2021

Snow! That rare commodity ……. and the village is enhanced with expert sculptures! I’ve probably missed more than I’ve captured, but Gretton suits the snow – even if for only one day!

Lovely sculpting on the High Street

The Village Green

The Village Green

Lonely horses foraging adjacent to the old school

The entrance to The Pocket Park from High Street

The pond in The Pocket Park

The field behind Finch Hatton Road

The “other” pond at the bottom of Hunts Field Drive

Above and below, snowmen on Hunts Field Drive


There were no football matches to visit this month, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has now claimed over 100,000 British lives. There was football at so called “elite” level, but it was all behind closed doors with canned crowd noise. It looks likely that football may not resume for the masses until next season!

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