Paul Raven - an Obituary

Addis member and life-long cricket fan, Paul Raven, aka Gazza, died suddenly at the age of 67 right at the end of his second Addis tour. He toured with me, Skip and a close mate, Geoff Quest. He was at the Auckland and Christchurch tests and then toured the South Island with Geoff and me. He was absolutely wowed by the stunning scenery of New Zealand, especially Doubtful Sound, and he relished the friendliness of the Kiwis.

He was a Plymouth man, born and bred, and lived there in Plympton. In the early ‘70s he read sociology at Leicester University and then trained as a social worker. He worked for the rest of his life as a social worker for the Social Services Department in Plymouth. Always a contrarian, he never really sought promotion but was an active trade unionist. In the 1980’s I was a member of the Department’s management team and met Raven, as we called him, across the negotiating table. For us he was a pain in the arse but he always fought his members’ corner every inch of the way.

But his passion in life was cricket. He was a reasonable medium/quick bowler and a batsman with an exaggerated forward defence who was hard to get out. Not really a studious boy, he loved nothing more at school than getting out on the cricket pitch. He played for the school, of course, and for Leicester University first team where he was coached by Barry Dudleston. Back in Plymouth he played for many years for Plympton. Latterly he was captain of the fourth team at Dartington in Devon. He frequently went to Test matches and was a loyal member of Somerset.

His life was blighted by tragedy. His teenaged daughter, his only child, was killed 15 years ago in a car crash in Plymouth, her mother at the wheel. She died a year later of breast cancer. He told me over dinner at Vizag in 2016 that that tour was the first time that he had really got over his double loss.

Despite that he was a most convivial guy, who was often downing pints of Guinness at his local in Plympton, the Miners’ Arms. Like any good Addis member he accepted having the piss taken out of him. You may or may not known that Paul Raven was also one of the names of Gary Glitter so inevitably Paul’s Addis name was Gazza. Always one with an eye for the ladies, we had many jokes at his expense in Vizag which he always took in good part.

I dropped him and Geoff off in Christchurch in the afternoon on 9 April and flew to China that night. He and Geoff had a nice meal in Christchurch in the evening. Taxi booked for the airport in the morning, Geoff went off to bed while Gazza did some last minute emails. Never an early riser, in the morning Geoff gave him a shout. Getting no reply, he went into his room to find Paul splayed on the bed having had a massive cerebral embolism which almost certainly killed him instantly.

Paul leaves a sister and a niece and many friends who will miss him greatly. His funeral, secular, of course, is likely to be in Plymouth next week.


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