Sidmothian Harold was keen cricket supporter

PUBLISHED: 13:04 09 June 2011

Harold Vosper on his 99th birthday

Harold Vosper on his 99th birthday

Archant

Harold Vosper’s son recalls his father’s love of Sidmouth following his death on Monday

WHEN Tom Griffiths restored Sidmouth’s Toastrack, there was one man he sought advice from over its colour scheme.

Sidmothian Harold Vosper, who has died just short of his 100th birthday, recalled the exact colour of the original paintwork, applied some 75 years earlier.

Born on August 11, 1911, Harold attended All Saints School and at the age of 14 helped in the construction of the new school in Vicarage Road, before taking an apprenticeship at Caisley’s coach builders, engaged in the fabrication and finishing of custom vehicles, including the Toastrack.

He went on to specialise in coach painting, leaving Sidmouth in 1934 and going to Oxford to work for Lord Nuffield at the Morris motor car plant.

Son David said: “His reference of May 1934, handwritten by Mr R P Griffin, director of The Sidmouth Motor Co. & Dagworthy Ltd., described Harold as industrious, punctual and anxious to please.

“These qualities he applied to life and sport, representing Sidmouth Town at cricket and football.”

He was a member of the successful team winning the Morrison Bell Cup during the 1930-31 season, reportedly holding Sidmouth Cricket Club’s record for the highest last wicket partnership and was an honorary life member.

In 1939 he worked in the General Motors factory in Luton, building Churchill tanks for the war effort.

Although a reserve occupation, being single he volunteered for the Army, joining the Kings Hussars Tank regiment, seeing action in North Africa and Palestine, driving tanks and supply trucks to the front line.

In July 1944 he returned to marry Peggy, his wife for 63 years until her death four years ago, before rejoining his regiment.

Post-war Harold and Peggy set up home in Luton and Harold resumed his employment with General Motors, producing the Vauxhall car range.

They had two sons, John born in 1945 and David in 1947, and later three grandchildren.

Harold retired in 1972, and they moved back to Newton Poppleford.

An active man and keen supporter of Sidmouth rugby and cricket clubs, David said of his father: “Well into his 80’s he would regularly walk into Sidmouth from Newton Poppleford to watch a game and walk back.

“He loved Sidmouth and when, in late 2004, he moved into Culver House, he felt he was truly home again.

“He was a very humorous man, always smart, with a twinkle in his eyes, and I loved him to bits.”

Harold’s funeral will take place at Sidmouth Parish Church on Monday, June 13 at 12.30pm, followed by burial at Sidmouth Cemetery and “a bit of a do” at the cricket club from 1.30pm. All who knew Harold are invited to the service.

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