Wilf Doughty – Obituary

Wilfred Henry Doughty (Wilf) – 1925 – 2020

It was with great sadness late on Thursday 16th April Wilf Doughty passed away peacefully and pain free aged 95.

Wilf originally lived on Waterside in Lincoln but spent many of his early adult years employed on Needham’s farm on Church Lane in Cherry Willingham. He was never a great fan of school and would be the first to say he was neither interested in or cut out for classroom education. He very much preferred a more active, outdoor life hence his love for the farm, the countryside and nature in general. It was whilst working at the farm he met Freda, who would later become is wife and soul mate. Together they made a fantastic partnership, she was able to smooth out the odd rough edge and imperfection without ever compromising his natural zest for life and strong personality.

The bulk of his working life though was spent at Smith Clayton Forge where he was employed as a well-respected band saw operator for over 40 years before retirement. The forge made crankshafts and connecting rods for aircraft, locomotives and at one stage had Rolls Royce as one of their customers. Working in this environment undoubtedly contributed to some of that colourful language he perhaps became (in)famous for and of course all the rude jokes! Here he formed some strong, lifelong friendships and he would often talk about his time at SCF with great fondness, particularly with regard to his work mates.

Freda was tragically taken early in August 1983 aged just 54 after a lengthy battle against breast cancer leaving a huge hole in Wilf’s life which he was able to fill, to some degree, with work and cricket as well as a very active social life. He may have lived his final 38 years alone in that Council House on Cherry High Street but he had a good set of mates and a loving family which he always cherished and valued. He also formed a close bond with his neighbours one of which was Jeff Elsey who lived next door and who remains the only cricketer listed to have taken all 10 wickets in a Lincoln League fixture.

Wilf had played cricket for Cherry from the very start, a founder member of the club and was in the team that took the field for their first ever game at Swinderby in May 1963. He was a decent wicket-keeper, he loved standing up and searching for stumpings which probably explains why he was one of the few umpire’s so hot on them when he later took on the officiating role – ‘the line is mine’ he would always say! His batting prowess was not so hot although his top score of 17 did enable Tony Bell to compile a century at the other end and the scorebook does validate this. His later career was actually at Welton where, ironically, he probably enjoyed most of his success – winning at least a couple of league wicket keeping awards.

Many locally though will of course know Wilf from his activities as an Umpire, a job which he loved and in which he became well respected. He liked to see good cricket and more importantly good cricketers and certainly warmed to those who were skilled but equally able to enjoy the game and express their own individual character. He umpired a couple of Albion Cup Finals, the George Marshall Trophy and also in a Village Trophy final. One of those Albion finals was at Lindum when that famous Claytons team, which he always admired and respected, was very much at the height of its powers.

He was extremely keen not to umpire Cherry due to his ties with the club and the fact he had family members playing in the teams. I do recall one occasion though at Rustons where he officiated a Cherry game and also a Lincs League 2nd match at Nettleham but he hated the thought of his impartiality being questioned. Originally he formed a formidable umpiring partnership with Des Welbourn who lived locally and latterly, of course, with Brian Gulliver who also resided in Cherry.

Wilf always the social side of umpiring, chatting to players and sharing a beer with them after games – there are no doubt many occasions where he left a ground (not driving of course) after a few too many and a bit the worse for wear. One springs to mind when he got hit by the ball at North Scarle and the home team, who he always enjoyed umpiring, gave him a few Brandy’s to steady the nerves! There was also an occasion at Winthorpe when he popped behind the pavilion to relief himself only for a nettle to blow in the wind and sting him on a certain unmentionable part of his body! He finished Umpiring around 2009 – many of those who remember him will almost certainly have an amusing ‘Wilf’ story of their own – he was that sort of bloke.

Wilf also loved socialising outside of cricket and for many years was a regular Friday and Saturday night visitor to the Cherry Tree and the Wishing Well – here he would form yet more great friendships. In his early days he had played football as well and darts and he was also a great lover of dominoes and appeared for the pub teams, winning a number of trophies in the process. He was well known in and around the village for his friendly nature and of course his regular stream of jokes. He loved helping his old mate Roy Bowser move his cattle along Cherry Hight Street and back to the farmyard and was very much a contributor to village life ,supporting all the local shops and amenities.

He was never a great watcher of sport either live or on TV. He would much prefer to watch a ‘cowboy’ on the box as opposed to football or cricket. He became a life member and later President of Cherry Willingham Cricket Club and whilst he perhaps didn’t attend that many games he always retained a keen interest, finding out results, attending presentation evening’s, wanting to know how the club was progressing and was never shy of giving his honest and very frank opinions!!

He was a caring, generous bloke, sometimes hidden behind that more forthright exterior which he perhaps became better known for – he certainly called it as he saw it. He very much loved those family and friends close to him and certainly never stopped loving or thinking about Freda. We were extremely grateful to all the staff and carers at Willow Court for looking after him so considerately and kindly. He will be dearly missed but leaves us all with some fantastic memories and so many great stories. Rest in peace Wilf.