I was only three when the D’Oliveira Affair happened and because of my age had absolutely no awareness of what was happening until I was much older. In fact I didn’t realise that Dad was famous until I got a lot older, but I always knew that cricket was a part of our lives because there was always cricketing paraphernalia around the house and of course he was rarely at home. He would be playing for Worcestershire during the summer months and was often away during the winter months, missing both Christmas and my birthday regularly during those early years.
My life was typical of any young person, except for my surname, which did cause me a few difficulties in certain circumstances. My school years I don’t remember as being particularly marvellous, though I did as well as most academically. I enjoyed most physical activities, particularly swimming, and was quite good at Maths and Technical Drawing. I got on with the majority of people around me but kept a fairly close set of friends of whom one is still particularly close to me and my family now. I did enjoy playing cricket as a sport and played for a local team for a period of time, however I never considered it as a career option even though I suppose there was always an expectation that I’d be naturally good at cricket. It was a heavy burden to bear on occasions, and although I enjoyed all ball games I was actually fairly average at most sports so I never really took cricket seriously.
I knew I’d never follow in my father’s career footsteps and I always had a desire to follow a completely different career path which for a while leant towards working in the motor trade. However I’d always had a deep desire to join the Fire Service and it stayed with me until I was fortunate enough to pass the very tough physical tests and entrance exams to become a fully fledged Fire Officer.
The fire service has given me the opportunity to realise my own ambitions and I am very happy in what I do. I watch cricket as a spectator though its mainly the one day games on TV but my son Ryan has recently started playing club cricket and Julie, my wife, and I go along to support him. Should Ryan decide to follow a professional sports career we would, of course, support him but with the proviso that he understands how short a sports’ professionals career is and that there is a lot of life left to live after its over!
When people ask whether or not I’m related to Basil I never deny it. I am very proud of what he stood up to and as importantly what he achieved