Fond farewells paid to Stuart Munday at funeral service

Left to right are the late Stuart Munday, Jack Davey and Geoff Miller

FOND farewells were paid to Devon Cricket League chairman Stuart Munday at his funeral service in Tavistock.

More than 300 mourners from the world of Devon cricket Stuart filled St Eustachias Church for the service, taken by the Rev Steven Martin, which followed a private cremation in Plymouth earlier in the day.

Stuart, who died last month aged 72, was a lifelong sportsman who played cricket for nearly 60 years. He was also a keen footballer, turning out for local side Wescon in the 1960s, and an ardent Manchester United supporter.

He played cricket for Whitchurch as a teenager then switched to Tavistock, who were a more senior club at the time, in the late 1950s.

Apart from a brief period working in Bristol as a betting shop manager, and a flirtation with St Gluvias in Cornwall playing league cricket before Devon had a competition, he was associated with Tavistock CC for more than 50 years.

Stuart, a talkative seam bowler, captained the first and second teams, chaired the club and went on to become president.

He was a member of the Lord’s Taverners cricket charity, an officer of the David Shepherd Cricket Trust, a Devon CCC committeeman and chairman of the Devon Cricket League for five years until his death.

A particular passion was encouraging young cricketers and Stuart worked hard with others to make the Devon Lions development programme for potential Minor Counties players a success.

Stuart’s life and achievements - public and private - were outlined by lifelong friend Jack Davey in a highly personal and often emotional eulogy.

Davey, who met Stuart on his first day at Tavistock Grammar School more than 60 years ago, was another cricketer in the making.

While Stuart played mainly at club level, Davey was talent spotted playing for Devon and went on to have a 15-year career with Gloucestershire in the professional game.

Gloucestershire are based in Bristol and for the two years Stuart worked in the city he was part of the county club set.

Davey, who had to pause from time to time to compose himself, said cricket was a constant thread though Stuart’s life and there was no escape from it, even on honeymoon.

Stuart met future wife Wendy while she was working in a Plymouth bookies and worked out a honeymoon surprise for his new bride.

“They spent their first night at Lulworth in Dorset en route to London, so Stuart told Wendy,”

“When they left Lulworth the following morning Stuart said he had a surprise for Wendy on the way to London and they would have to make a diversion – she was so excited!

“We are going into Bournemouth – don’t worry I have tickets and there will be plenty to eat and drink.

“When Stuart pulled into a gateway, Wendy saw the sign that said ‘Welcome to Dean Park and the first day of the game between Hampshire and Gloucestershire. Then the penny dropped.”

Davey said his friend was never shy of giving an opinion of offering help – regardless of whether either was wanted by the recipient.

Stuart was a great talker, something Davey had reason to be grateful for when he had a bout of ill health in the mid 1990s when he was struck down with heart trouble.

“I was put into an induced coma for a couple of weeks and when they finally brought me round they said there had been a visitor who had asked if he could talk to me while I was out and came in almost every day,” said Davey.

“The nurses said talk as much as you like it may help bring him out as he is in there somewhere – that was a dream job for Stuart!”

Davey said Stuart had the happy knack of being able to bridge the age gap and his popularity with the current generation of players was proved by the number of the current Tavistock 1st XI at the service.

Craig Alexander, the former South African pace bowler who played for Tavistock in 2004, travelled down from Sussex specifically to be at the service.

Summing up Stuart Munday’s life, Davey said: “It is true to say he was a legend in his own lifetime.

“In some ways Stuart was a law unto himself, sometimes unconventional but he was a doer and got things done.”

A further tribute on behalf of the family by son-in-law David Boot, who is married to Stuart and Wendy’s daughter Zoe.

“We are certain were above cricket in his list of priorities, at least most of the time,” said David.

“He was courageous, happy and a strong believer in what was the right thing to do.

“I think anyone who knew him would agree it is a real shame he is not here today – in body as he is in spirit – he would have loved all those he knew being here together and being the centre of attention.”

Stuart Munday is survived by wife Wendy, his daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter Darcy.

Mourners went back to Tavistock Cricket Club after the service for a reception and the scattering of Stuart’s ashes.