By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
A FAMILIAR face will be missing from Devon’s cricket landscape next season following the death of umpire and administrator Pete Bamber.
Bamber, who was 63, died earlier this month having been in poor health since suffering a strangulated hernia in 2017.
Bamber took up umpiring almost unintentionally and once he acquired a taste for officiating he threw himself into the task with gusto.
“I was playing in the under-15 team at Stoke Gabriel around 2006-2007 and a couple of years later seven or eight of us wanted to start an under-17 side,” said Bob, one of Bamber’s three sons.
“Father was worked on until he said ‘yes’ and from there it was a small step to umpiring some of our matches.
“Next came some adult games as Stoke’s club umpire and pretty soon he did the training to become a league umpire.
“By 2009 he had qualified as an umpire and was being appointed to matches on the Devon League’s panel.
“He regularly officiated in the Premier Division and also umpired a Devon game against Somerset 2nd XI, the Devon and Somerset ladies in a game on the County Ground at Taunton and numerous county age-group matches.
“Dad carried on until 2017 when he became ill and had to go into hospital. That was when he switched to administration.
“Secretly, I think he enjoyed administration more than umpiring. He loved the challenge of sorting out a problem such as replacing an umpire who dropped out at short notice. A few hours later umpires would have been moved around and the job was done.”
Sue Bamber, Peter’s wife of 30 years, could not agree more about the lure of administration to her husband.
“The more difficult it was to sort out a problem, the more he seemed to enjoy it,” said Sue.
Bamber took over as the Devon Association of Cricket Officials appointment’s officer from the late John Wadsworth in 2011 and remained in post until he died.
When Ray Allen stepped aside as DACO’s representative on the Tolchards Devon Cricket League executive in 2018, Bamber took over the role. He served for two years before resigning.
Cricket was almost certainly in the Bamber family DNA. A grandfather had been an umpire and mum Betty was, according to Sue Bamber, ‘a massive cricket fan’.
Peter Bamber was born in Droylesden, Lancashire in 1959 and educated at Stockport Boys’ School then the University of Warwick, where he studied economics.
A job with Lucas Aeropsace in the IT department took Bamber to the Midlands in the early 1980s. There he met wife-to-be Sue, who worked for the same company at the time.
The newly-weds moved to the West Country in 1983 when Bamber accepted a job with Devon County Council in Exeter. Three years later an IT role became available with Torbay Borough Council, where Bamber remained for the next 26 years.
Bamber’s last job was with Delt Shared Services, an IT and business support company associated with Plymouth City Council. He worked there from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.
Bamber was interested in a number of sports as a spectator and was a regular badminton player for a club in Torquay for several years. He also ran a fantasy football competition.
Pete Bamber is survived by wife Sue, sons Bob, Mike and Steve and two grandchildren.
A celebration of Pete's life will be held at Torquay Crematorium on Tuesday, November 29 at 11.15am. Donations to the David Shepherd Cricket Trust may be made via www.stockmanandloram.co.uk/donations or directly to Gavin Lane, who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Mourners are invited to raise a glass to Pete Bamber after the service in the bar at Brixham CC.