It is with deep sadness and respect that we record the passing of Balsall Common resident and rock solid gentleman Glyn Meredith Langton :
[Editorial note: this article will be revised and updated with photos and tributes in the hours and days ahead so for those that know Glyn or his family please return again later]:
Glyn Meredith Langton – December 8th, 1944 – November 11th, 2011
A much loved family man, keen sportsman and true gentleman passed from this world on Friday morning (11th November 2011) after a short illness, leaving behind his loving wife Yvonne, four children and twelve adoring grandchildren. A keen sportsman, games player and outdoors type, 66 year old Glyn Langton from Clive Road built up a long list of friends down the years, including many at his beloved Berkswell Cricket Club, where he was a highly regarded and long serving member.
“He made me feel really welcome” said Club member John Walsh recalling Glyn’s friendly and caring nature, “it was my first game of cricket for 15 years and I was a bit nervous. He epitomised to me what cricket should be about.”
It was this attitude, among other qualities, that shone through and inspired respect from people in all areas of Glyn’s life.
Glyn was born in Derby. He lived in Ripley, then Crosshill. He attended Swanwick Hall Grammar School where he met childhood sweetheart Yvonne. Within 5 years they were married.
Career-wise Glyn was best known as an IBM mainframe man with vast experience in his field, although he didn’t get there all at once. He started out on his career trail as a trainee policeman when he left school with A Levels. Choosing to leave a career he decided wasn’t for him, he became a teacher, before doing stints at Rolls Royce, a bank, Peugeot in Coventry, Birmingham City Council and finally TNT in Atherstone before going out on his own as a contractor. While still at TNT his daughter, Anna joined the company and before long his son Carl found his way there too. He retired at 60 with some relief. He called himself a ‘dinosaur’ and refused to learn all the ‘new fangled stuff’.
As a teacher at a junior school in Derby, a job he did for one year after qualifying, Glyn’s love of sport shone through where he dragooned the boys into a rather rough and ready football team. They loved it.
Outside his busy career Glyn, loved to keep busy with a variety of sports, games and outdoor pursuits. In his early years he played football and rugby for village teams in Leicestershire, before becoming a regular at badminton and cricket when he settled in Balsall Common. In sport, as with most things, Glyn Langton was a tough character and keen competitor, but always remained courteous, friendly and fair.
Glyn loved cricket and became a significant, popular and long serving member of Berkswell Cricket Club. Everything about his game was in some fashion, unique. From his quenchless thirst for fielding in death-defying positions against aggressive batsmen without any protective gear, to his singular batting and bowling styles, Glyn was always a welcome source of friendship, fondness, entertainment and fun.
Glyn was particularly famous too, for his fielding exploits, further afield than his favoured ‘ultimate danger’ positions, with his jaw-dropping preferred method for stopping blistering exocet shots with his bare shins.
Berkswell Cricket Club Chairman Patrick Milnes, in offering his respects and recollections said,
“Our thoughts go to Yvonne and the family. We only ever saw Glynn with a smile on his face and he’ll be sadly missed. Glyn was a kind and generous man who contributed to club life with vigor and enthusiasm. There is no one at the club who would not consider Glynn their friend. His fabulous sense of humor allied with a genuine charm endeared him to all. We will never forget that dainty run up, invisible armour whilst fielding in the most ridiculously dangerous positions and, of course, the ‘Dukes’ infamous Pith helmet. His passing is a sad loss to us all.”
Yet despite Patrick’s partially mirthful recollection, in truth Glyn’s bowling and that run-up in particular, was more ‘bull-like’ than dainty, with a trademark lift of the leg that signalled the beginning of a raging charge towards the batsman. Truly, his bowling was the stuff of Berkswell legend.
Reminiscing of his cricketing years, wife Yvonne recalls
“He loved his cricket and all the family went to away games in all the village locations that Berkswell CC played at in those days. He insisted on continuing to play right up to his 64th year when a knee injury slowed him down and in 2010 he umpired instead. He played his last game of cricket this summer when the club was desperate”
And it’s here that Club Secretary Stuart Randall picks up the story as he recalled how he found his willing hero,
“This August I was skippering the Sunday 2nds at home. With 15 minutes to go before play began, we only had 10 men. Several phone calls failed to find us an extra player, until I spoke to Glyn. Sensing my hour of need, he agreed to come and help us out at the drop of a hat. Incredibly, he even apologised when he arrived that he hadn’t been able to make it in time for the start of the match! Not many other 66-year olds would have done that! A genuinely nice man.”
Among his other interests badminton was a firm favourite where he played with Balsall Common Badminton Club at the Heart of England School, where he played regularly until 3 years ago.
He also played golf whenever he could find the opportunity although his busy life ensured this didn’t take off in a big way until retirement from work, when he joined Stonebridge Golf Club where he soon found himself playing 3 or 4 times a week with the ‘chaps’. Wife Yvonne was also a member and while they both played there his handicap came down to a very respectable level.
He also joined the Bridge Club in Solihull when Yvonne had been playing for some time and also the Friends in Retirement Group in the village. His bidding was of the ‘old fashioned’ kind having learned to play when working night shifts at Rolls Royce back in the 60’s. As with everything he did he was capable of playing extremely well when it suited him to do so.
Glyn was very much a ‘family man’, and supported his children in every way, as confirmed when son Carl attributed him with ultimate “my hero” status amongst his personal recollections. Glyn was always there for his siblings as a ‘sounding board’ when needed and gave good advice, which naturally and inevitably, was not always acted upon. Family holidays were of the camping in wet and windy fields kind. No hot water. No ‘mod cons’. As the children grew old enough they were dragged up mountains in the Lake District which he loved and made sure they knew it was “character forming”.
Glyn’s was a life of smiles and happiness, slightly old fashioned, but without doubt the better for it. His family can be rightly and justly proud of the regard in which he is remembered.
Glyn Langton may you rest in peace.
Glyn’s funeral will take place at St Peter’s Church, Balsall Street East, Balsall Common, this Friday 18th November 2011. The service will commence at 1pm, followed by a wake at the Tipperary Inn, Honiley. Yvonne and family have given an open invitation to those who knew Glyn to join them in raising a glass in honour of his memory.
Note to well-wishers:
The family politely request that instead of flowers, donations towards Glyn’s chosen charities would be preferred.
Donations can be made by cheque payable to;
John Taylor Funeral Service, with care taken to mark them “For Glyn Langton’s chosen charities.”
These can be left at St Peter’s church or posted to:
John Taylor Funeral Service,
178, Warwick Rd,
When all donations have been collected, they will be split between The Stroke Association and Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Tributes and more photos
These contributions have been gathered from an abundance of sources. Many thanks to all who contributed to this collection:
“One of my favourite memories of Glyn, and cricket in general come to think of it, was watching him get into a full forward defensive position before the bowler even released the ball! Absolute legend.
Roger Beesley, Berkswell Cricket Club
“Short Leg Legend! Fearless! God Rest The Duke!”
Richard Blundell, Berkswell Cricket Club
“Sad news indeed, but I’m sure we’ll all remember, and never forget, the sound of leather, striking willow, hitting shin! R.I.P. Duke.”
Trevor Jordan, Berkswell Cricket Club
“Such sad news – a truly nice guy on and off the pitch – will be sorely missed.”
Tushara Fernando and family
Helped me a lot when I was Captain of the Sunday 1st XI 1991.
Richard Atkinson, Plymouth (former Berkswell Cricket Club member)
“I recall a game in Devon on one of our tours when just as Glyn raised the trade-mark knee, I noticed that Colin Wale, Steve Edwards and around half of the Berkswell fielders had all done the same! Unfortunately this moment wasn’t captured on celluloid–I only wish it had been as we were all in fits of laughter including the batsman!!”
Geoff Seabridge, Berkswell Cricket Club
“Such sad news. Impeccable line and length. Such a natural competitor. May you rest in peace Glyn.”
Josh + Terry Audie, formerly of Berkswell Cricket Club
“A seriously nice, (and hard) geezer. Remember him padding up to bouncers in the chest! Never flinched! Absolute nails.”
Chris Gardiner, ex-player, Berkswell Cricket Club
“Without doubt one of the good guys – a true gent. Glyn had a wonderful way of introducing lads into the workings of an adult cricket game, quite simply, never take a backward step! Many fond memories, rip.”
Anthony Johnson, Berkswell Cricket Club (ex-player)
“Sad news. Only the best of memories when playing with Glyn. Thoughts with family and friends.”
Pierre-du-Toit, South Africa (former Berkswell Cricket Club member and Club Secretary)
“R.I.P Glynn, not quite sure who’s going to laugh and tell me to calm down from Mid On now, when I’m going off on a Louis rant after being hit for another 4!! ‘Swell legend,epitomised everything the club stands for and will be sadly missed!!!”
Louis McMahon, Berkswell Cricket Club
“I was a member of Berkswell CC when Glyn Langton first joined and so have probably known him for around 40 years. As others have said, a genuinely nice man and one who I feel privileged to have had as a friend. I was a member of Berkswell’s first tour to Bristol and district back in 1983 and well remember he seemed to be the recipient of the famous “Pith Helmet” more than most.
As well as being a keen sportsman, Glyn was extremely widely read and his head contained a wealth of knowledge which came to the fore during numerous quizzes in which we both took part.
Glyn was an esteemed member of the so called “Grumpies”, a group of elder statesmen who meet most Tuesday evenings at the Tipperary in a somewhat frustrated attempt to put the world to rights and of course to down a few pints. Sadly last year we lost Bob McKee from this group and now, we have lost Glyn. Sad times indeed.
I certainly feel honoured to have counted Glyn as one of my friends. May he rest in peace.”
“One of the hardest men I have ever seen, fearless and never flinched when hit by a cricket ball. Only two seasons ago when asked which end he wanted to bowl from he opted to bowl up hill and into the wind, even then he was fitter than Ali Milnes.
Glyn you were a gent and it was my pleasure to have known you.
Danny McMahon – Berkswell Cricket Club
“One of the good guys without a doubt – I have many happy memories of Glyn both on and off the pitch – a true gent who made it his duty to help others feel welcome at the club whether on the pitch or in the bar.
R.I.P. Glyn and thanks for the memories.”
Ian Tracey, Berkswell Cricket Club
Glyn partnered me in my first Coventry league badminton match against Massey Ferguson. Needless to say we lost (down to me) but Glyn was still full of encouragement. He and Yvonne really supported me back then, and I have fond memories of playing in tournaments with them. What good days they were, and what good friends they were. As everyone has said Glyn was so kind and unselflsh. Rest in peace Glyn, and my sympathy to Yvonne, Ginny and the rest of his family.
Peter Baker, Balsall Common Badminton Club
A lovely man who will be sadly missed. R.I.P.
Anastasia Griffith, Australia (former resident of BC)