We are absolutely delighted that Bob’s idol, Bob Dylan has agreed to be Honorary Patron of the Fund:
“Bob Willis was a great sportsman who left too soon. I’m happy to help keep his flame and cause alive.”
We’re also honoured to have Sir Tim Rice, a great friend of Bob’s, as our Patron.
Remember more than wickets now he’s gone,
Or speed, or run-up of eccentric mode,
Beginning somewhere way beyond long on,
Emerging from a distant postal code.
Remember more than flying stumps and bails
That troubled every nation’s very best,
Gave him fame and all that that entails,
Deserved – but he stood taller than the rest.
We knew him as a cultured Bob, refined,
In thrall to Wagner, Dylan, white and red,
Laconic, warm and witty, spoke his mind.
Life’s verdict: he was true Renaissance bred.
It’s not a goose but eagle that we see,
Still soaring high with eight for 43.
Sir Tim Rice
The Bob Willis Fund also has the support of truly wonderful team of Ambassadors. Here’s what they had to say about Bob.
Bob had those figures of 8 for 43 in his soul. Somewhere, sometime
R G D Willis was going to do something utterly compelling.
The Willis I knew: warm, generous, hilarious at times and someone who cared deeply, really deeply and passionately, about English cricket and those within it.
It was difficult to understand why people thought he was boring on TV because he’s one of the funniest guys I’ve toured with.
This modest but immensely talented man would be surprised to know how fondly he will be remembered, and for how long.
“Should we go for a spot of lunch?” This is proper Willis speak. When you turned up there could be anyone there. All good company and all with a tale to tell. Bob was a great organiser.
Bob and I bonded over our firm “better-out-than-in” belief that if you’ve got something to say, say it loudly, proudly and preferably in a way that winds up a lot of people.
If Bob thought the game was being damaged by wrong attitudes, or wrong actions, he would say so, and you had to admire him for that.
I can only remember him being late once, and that was at his funeral.
“You almost had to knock to find out if anyone was in. He was in, but he had this particular zone he got into, and I think it helped him a lot,”
Bob’s life had depth beyond measure. His achievements on the cricket pitch and in the studio were only a part of the Bob Willis story.
That last day at Leeds and his 8-43 was one of the most extraordinary things I was ever lucky enough to witness close up.