Bowled over by the Don

The Oldie - - READERS' LETTERS -

SIR: The Old Un’s com­ments about Don Brad­man brought to mind one of my boy­hood’s most trea­sured mo­ments. The Don had made up his mind to re­tire from ac­tive play­ing on his 40th birth­day, 27th Au­gust 1948. Though he led ‘the op­po­si­tion’, he was my hero and this event de­manded com­mem­o­ra­tion. At the age of 13, my pocket money was one shilling per week (al­ready spent). I pinched one of my fa­ther’s golf balls and sent it to Mr Don Brad­man, c/o Lord’s Cricket Ground, with my greet­ings.

Within a few days I re­ceived back a let­ter with the MCC logo at the top. It was hand­writ­ten by Brad­man him­self. He thanked me charm­ingly for the gift and en­closed a sheet con­tain­ing all the Aus­tralian team’s au­to­graphs. The let­ter – a price­less me­mento – was pasted into the front of Pel­ham Warner’s book about Lord’s, where from time to time it has been lov­ingly re-read.

I have passed it on to my crick­et­lov­ing son for safe-keep­ing as the one fam­ily heir­loom worth pre­serv­ing.

The re­cently pub­lished book Brad­man’s War, by Mal­colm Knox, men­tions the gift and the Don’s re­sponse. The only mi­nor fly in the oint­ment is that, be­cause of the am­bi­gu­ity of my name, he may have thought I was a girl. Sandy Macnab, Stow­mar­ket, Suf­folk

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