The Bedser legacy

Sir Alec Bedser, England cricketing hero and one-time Horsell resident, died last Sunday at the age of 91. Sir Alec was a fast-medium bowler who took many wickets for England and Surrey County Cricket Club throughout his career, even bowling out Australian legend Don Bradman. His identical twin, Eric, also played cricket and the two were known for swopping half way through an innings as a practical joke, as no one could tell them apart.

The twins had a long history of being involved with Horsell community life. In the 1970’s, Sir Alec ran a youth sports club at the Village Hall, and signed photos of them both are now on display in the Hall. When Eric died in 2006, part of his bequest to the Horsell Residents’ Association was used to fund an annual sports award for pupils attending Horsell’s schools – the Bedser Award.  Horsell Common Preservation Society was also proud that Sir Alec agreed to give the Bedser name to a new accessible track through Horsell Common, which is being built by volunteers.

The twins (Eric was the older by 10 minutes) were brought up in their aunt’s house in Anthonys. They walked to school across Horsell Common, and sang in the choir at All Saints Church, Woodham, where  their cricketing potential shone through at church matches. In his later years, Sir Alec lived in Carlton Road, not far from the Common.

Their heyday was the 1940’s and 50’s, shortly after the Second World War, when both Alec and Eric were selected for the England squad. Thanks to a sterling bowling career, plus his commitment to the sport (he was a selector for later England squads), Sir Alec was appointed OBE in 1964, CBE in 1982, and in 1997 became the only England bowler ever to be knighted. He was President of Surrey in 1987-88, and was, for a time, the oldest England Test player living.

[Edited 12/05/2010] According to, Sir Alec’s funeral will be held at All Saints Church, Woodham, Woking on 20 April.

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