By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
A FIVE-figure legacy from the will of a former cricketer will be used to help the development of young players in Devon.
Paul Raven, who played for Plympton and latterly Dartington & Totnes, died unexpectedly in early 2018 while following the England Test team in New Zealand. He was 67.
Raven, a retired social worker, left his estate to a number of causes close to his heart.
One of the causes Raven wanted to support was the David Shepherd Cricket Trust, which ploughs around £20,000 a year into youth cricket at all levels from absolute beginners to county age-group squad.
The charity has received a £12,000 windfall from Raven’s estate, which is the greatest legacy left to the Trust in its 10-year history.
Plymouth, Plympton, Ivybridge and Yelverton are among the clubs to have benefited from grants made by the Trust, which boasts England Women’s captain Heather Knight from Plymstock as a patron.
Gavin Lane, the treasurer of the Trust, said: “We had no inkling of this legacy in advance, but clearly it was something Paul had thought long and hard about.
“A legacy of this magnitude will go a long way towards furthering our work with young cricketers and the people who coach them.
“It might be nice to remember Paul’s legacy with an annual award in future.”
Keith Alexander, a former chairman and 2nd XI captain at Plympton, said he was not surprised Raven had left money to a cricket charity.
“Paul was a serious cricketer who played the game hard and was someone you wanted to play with and not against,” said Alexander.
“He was absolutely brilliant with the youngsters, always encouraging them and willing to talk about every aspect of the game.
“Paul had no family – his wife and only daughter both died around 15 years ago – so I am not surprised he left something to the Shepherd Trust.
Plympton were left Raven’s collection of Wisden Cricket Almanacs, which they were able to sell for a four-figure sum, which has been set aside to support under-privileged children to play the game.
Mick Rusling, the chairman of Dartington & Totnes said Raven’s legacy was in line with his love for the game.
“Paul was a big cricket fan and his interest extended further than just playing,” said Rusling.
“During Paul’s time with us he got involved in the project to replace our practice nets, which we have just completed.
“He had a lot of tragedy in his life and after his wife died several years ago cricket became Paul’s over-riding passion.”
Raven was a widower whose personal life had been touched by tragedy. Daughter Katie died in a car accident and wife Janet died a year later after developing breast cancer.
“Paul endowed a foundation at Hele’s School in Plympton in memory of his daughter and we have a memorial bench on the ground remembering Katie and Janet, who both came to watch him play,” said Alexander.
Raven – Plymouth born and bred – read sociology at the University of Leicester and trained as a social worker. He spent his entire career with the Social Services Department in Plymouth, where he immersed himself in trade union affairs.
Cricket was a passion from an early age: firstly with Plymouth Corporate Officers CC then with Plympton and finally Dartington & Totnes, where he was 3rd XI captain for three seasons.
Retirement allowed Raven to watch Somerset CCC in action and follow the England Test team home and away.
It was while in Christchurch at the end of England’s tour of New Zealand that Raven died. It is thought he died of a cerebral embolism. His secular funeral at Devonport Town Hall in Plymouth was followed by a wake at the Miner’s Arms in Plympton, where he regularly enjoyed a pint of two of Guinness.
[ ]: Anyone interested in leaving a legacy to DSCT should contact secretary Kat Hampton for a confidential discussion. She can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org