Local Face: Joe Stonell

  |  Published: Apr 1st 1994

Joe Stonell first passed through Wendover in 1941 when he flew from Halton as an ATC Cadet. This must have been enjoyable enough to make it memorable because 18 years later, when he was browsing through a newspaper one Saturday morning he noticed plots of land for sale in Wendover. He and his wife Bobbie were thinking of moving house and he insisted on visiting Wendover that very day. Bobbie was not available but Joe found what he had remembered, an idyllic spot, so on the Sunday, she had to come and agree to buy the house they live in to this day.

The Stonells found Wendover an ideal place to live, the neighbours were very friendly and several of them joined Joe commuting to the city. There was only one drawback. Joe had been a keen cricketer all his life. He had always been in the First XI for Hampton School and had even been offered an opportunity to become a professional. Unfortunately he didn't think that the Wendover Cricket Ground was up to much.

By 1974 their 12 year old son Keith joined Wendover Cricket Club as a scorer and so his parents became involved too. These were wonderful years for a colt with many exciting adventures travelling around the county with the club.

Gradually, then, Joe became drawn in to the hierarchy of Wendover Cricket Club. By the early 1980's he was appointed Secretary. He suffered ill health leading to early retirement and in 1985 he was appointed to the all important position of Groundsman at Ellesborough Road. This involved going on a special course at Reading University and has led to an accolade for one of the best kept grounds in the district. The Bucks Cricket Association considers this ground to be good enough to host U15 and U12 County Matches for Schools.

Not only does Joe spend long hours tending the square and outfield, he has also campaigned long and hard with the management committee for improvements to the pavilion. Consequently, at great expense, about six years ago electric power and water were connected and a septic tank dug so that the players could enjoy modem comforts including lashings of hot water in the showers.

The proposed route for Wendover By-Pass goes right through the Pavilion. This has meant that Joe has spent a lot of time and Cricket Club money arranging planning permission for the Pavilion to be moved Since December he has been very upset because if the By-Pass is delayed indefinitely all the effort would be wasted. Retirement brought other opportunities to Joe and he has enjoyed his hobbies of gardening, walking, travelling and photography as well as being very handy with his do-it-yourself carpentry.

In 1989 Joe was appointed Secretary to Bucks Cricket Association. This is part of the National Cricket Association which governs all Club Cricket. There are some 60 affiliated clubs in South Bucks and 40 in the Milton Keynes area. Due to the problems of distance between the two areas there has always been little contact, but this is now changing with the large increase in Colts' activity in Milton Keynes.

In recent years a lot of Joe's time has been taken up with planning blight caused by the Wendover By-Pass. The club has been advised that the Ellesborough Road Pavilion will have to be moved with the coming of the new road. Wendover Cricket Club has been forced to apply for planning permission to move the pavilion. This is a costly business and if the By-Pass does not go ahead in the foreseeable future the cricket club will have expended some £2000 of hard earned funds with very little to show for the efforts of the club members.

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