David English CBE Tributes

Tribute to a man of cricket

It is with great sadness to be informed of the passing of David English CBE, our great friend and supporter.

He began his relationship with ESCA in 1986 when Cyril Cooper my predecessor (Who David thought the world of) asked David if he could support our under 15 festival in 1987.  This he did with his usual boundless enthusiasm.  This was the measure of the man, he stayed with you which lasted for years.

ESCA and I have lost a great friend.

When we needed a sponsor for our U12/13 national competition David was there, it became the David English competition.  What a time we had at the National Final at Oakham – David lit up the day for many years.

Others will tell you more about that as David spoke to so many of the young players – they loved him.

Who will ever forget the two great under 15 World Cups – an absolute first.  They would never have happened without Dr Dave.  He loved them from beginning to the end.  They were his pride and joy.

David and I spent hours on the phone putting the cricket world to rights and any other world for that matter.

His stories and jokes were the stuff of legends.  We loved them and will miss them dearly.

There will be many stories told of great Bunbury matches, all in the name of David’s charities, for which he received the CBE.  He was very proud of that.  It was richly deserved; his charity work was beyond measure. We will tell our own stories as we mourn the loss of a great man.

He was a man’s man, a man for all and a man for all seasons.  We shall not see his like again.  He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

There is so much more we could say and will do so as we meet in the years to come.  Dr Dave will not be forgotten. His contribution to ESCA was immense.

As we say our goodbyes, somewhere in the distance will be the sound of bat on ball.

All is well.

God bless David, may you rest in peace.

It is a sad day.

Ken Lake MBE

General Secretary ESCA


This is a lovely tribute to our great friend and supporter, David English. My overriding memory of David will be his exuberant positivity, whenever he interacted with any of the young cricketers at the numerous Bunbury Festivals. I am also proud of the fact that Ted and Sally hosted a Bunbury Festival down here in Devon in 1999 that David enjoyed so much and recalled very fondly in the years that followed.

ESCA has indeed lost a great friend and supporter!

Giles Ashman

ESCA Chairman


David’s enthusiasm for cricket, people and much else besides knew no bounds and was so infectious and compelling that it was impossible not to feel optimistic and uplifted in his presence.

He could lift the spirits of any occasion even with the rain hammering down and his jokes, while well worn and increasingly familiar,were reassuring for an audience that pretty well knew what was coming next. Great fun.

But, above all, it was his dedication to the needs of the young and ESCA that became so important to cricket and the development of young cricketers over many years. And it wasn’t just cricket, David along with ESCA enhanced and added to the educational value of so many youngsters, and not just those who went on to great things. Many others too.

The Bunbury Festivals, spread throughout the country, were remarkable for their strong partnership between schools, ESCA and the boys involved. Starting with Cyril Cooper, followed by Ken Lake as general secretaries ,alongside countless chairmen and many other supporters, there can be few better examples of partnership and cooperation at work without which English cricket and its development would be very much the poorer.

But, as much as anything else, David was such fun and funny too – the loon – though behind that facade of lunacy was a very devoted, passionate and determined person and absolutely not to be underestimated. The amount of money he raised for charitable causes as well as the ESCA programmes and Bunburys went way beyond the call of duty.

David became so much part of our ESCA life. We will all miss him enormously but thank him most wholeheartedly for the inspirational contribution and love he has extended to the game and our lives.

John Barclay

President of ESCA.


Amongst all the England celebrations yesterday it was an English man named English who I and so many grateful cricket lovers and players are sadly mourning the passing of.  David English was a true gentleman and at the heart of England Youth and Schools cricket for over 35 years.

As a school Whitgift have been lucky enough to win The David English Bunbury U13 Cup 14 times. From a school’s point of view David’s relationship with Whitgift started in 1998 when we won our first U13 ESCA Bunbury Cup, then called The Calypso Cup. In amongst the 14 titles other Whitgift connections have been through the U15 Bunbury Festival when one of the many England Test players of the future a young Dominic Sibley took the accolades in the 2011. However, it was in 2009 in the ESCA U13 Bunbury Cup final when the ever effervescent David English gushed his flamboyant praise of outstanding achievement on Whitgift bowler Wil Bray when he took 4 wickets in four balls, all bowled, to set up Sibley’s Team for victory against Solihull School. David was always at his finest and most entertaining when in front of an audience always bringing laughter and a love for the game of cricket in the best way possible.

David’s passion and support of school and youth cricket has been immense for so many years and for that we give huge thanks. He will be greatly missed and leave a crease in all our hearts forever.

God bless you David as you draw stumps on what has been a remarkable life.

Simon Beck

Surrey School Hon. Secretary


An excellent tribute Ken. I don’t really feel there is anything to add. ESCA has indeed lost a very good friend.

Richard Somerford 


Very much the end of an era. I shall always have warm memories of at not least the Winchester Banbury Festival and the splendid World Challenges of ‘96 and ‘00, even those much repeated AGM jokes.

I thought you may not have heard about the first time David thought he bumped into me. This came to light chatting over tea at Ted’s Banbury Festival – at Sidmouth.

In 1967 I was in my second year at college in Leicester. In those days of live music(!), I was responsible for booking groups for our college gigs. For the Summer and Christmas Balls we hosted the likes of The Tremeloes, Georgie Fame and Cat Stevens but we also had monthly hops. This was usually consisted of a good local group and one up from London.

In the spring of 67 I had a call from the agent in London to say that the group booked for the next gig had folded. This was very irritating as all the advertising had been set up and tickets were on sale. To placate us, the agent offered a group that had just arrived from Australia and had made a record. I could have them for the same fee: £75!

When the Bee Gees arrived some three weeks later, “New York Mining Disaster” was No 1! David was then working with the Robert Stigwood Organisation and I understand later became the President of RSO Records. David was briefly operating as manager of the Bee Gees at the time. He was sure he was at Scraptoft for our gig.

Remember when excitement for the players when the BeeGes arrived at Lord’s for the opening of the 2000 World Challenge?

Happy memories.

Graham Symons (or “Simmo” as David always called me)


David was a great inspiration for me when I was drawing up the plans for the Bunbury Festival in Chester in 2010. He would phone me every week to discuss the latest bit of the plan and I always felt  more encouraged each time I put the phone down. He was a real Mr. Motivator. “These lads deserve the best we can do for them. Let’s give them the week of their lives.” I tried and I like to think that I came somewhere near to meeting his ambitions. He was a real living legend in his lifetime and, now, beyond. Thank you, David, rest in peace.

David Hill, Cheshire School’s Cricket Association


Dr David English CBE

The First Bunbury Festival 1987

I was a member of the Middlesex Schools Cricket Association in 1986 when we were informed that it was our turn to organise and run the ESCA u15 Festival. At that time the school county associations took it in turn to stage this important festival. The festival would be staged at a public school with accommodation and 2 grounds. We at Middlesex had few schools with the required facilities and ran our games with no spare funding.

However, Cyril Cooper (then General Secretary of ESCA) proposed a meeting with a ‘show biz’ personality who might be able to help. I was designated for the meeting. My school allowed  time from school to meet David English at a local pub for lunch. It was not long before David, with  his enthusiasm and fun, convinced me that our ESCA festival could be staged. He talked about his ideas and together we outlined the first Bunbury Festival. We got so carried away that I was late back to school for my afternoon lesson!

Over the next 6 months I met with David several times and was able to convince my committee at SCAM that with his help and enthusiasm we could stage the festival. Harrow school became the base for accommodation and practise facilities. Uxbridge CC, Winchmore Hill CC, Ealing CC, Brentham CC, Finchley CC (David’s club) and Harrow CC agreed to provide the venues for the games. David also got Brian Johnson of the BBC commentary team to entertain the players on the presentation evening in one of the school Halls. The final festival dinner was to be staged at Harrow CC. The London Borough of Harrow provided transport to the Venues. It was exciting working with David as we approached the Festival Week.

Unfortunately the week turned out to be the wettest of the summer 1987. Only the Uxbridge games were able to be played to a result. The 2 day game at Harrow CC was a total washout although 6 balls were staged so that the BBC could record John Crawley playing a few shots. Colin Moynihan (Minister of Sport) came to the ground but apart from meeting everyone was not able to see a ball bowled.

David made a hugely funny speech and presented awards  at the after game dinner in the new Harrow pavilion. I am now the proud owner of one of the first Bunbury dolls!

David English has supported the annual ESCA Festival since then and has added other Bunbury competitions to his portfolio. The brief mention at the World Cup Final does not do justice to a man who has fostered the careers of many of England’s finest players.

Colin Tufnell   MBE

I first came across David at a Cricket Dinner in Weston-super-Mare in 1984 but when he arrived at Harrow School in 1987 to sponsor the first U15 Bunbury Festival for the English Schools’ Cricket Association – well, not only sponsor but save it from extinction – I knew at once that David was not only a life-saver but someone who was planning to be in it for the long term. He certainly was, right up to the present day, and I am sure that the David English Bunbury Festival – which now has a permanent home at Loughborough – will live on and hopefully continue to flourish.

To date, the 35 Bunbury Festivals have produced over one hundred England cricketers and several hundred who have gone on to play First Class cricket. In recent times I have been proud to be Bunbury’s Director of Press, Publicity and Communications. It doesn’t seem quite the same to no longer receive e-mails from David – always beginning ‘My Dear Tworty’ – asking if a particular cricketer just selected for England had appeared in a Bunbury Festival. Even if he hadn’t, we usually agreed to make him an Honorary Bunbury.

David, you did so much for Schools’ cricket, not only with the Bunbury Festival but also sponsoring the U12/U13 National competition for schools. Let us also remember the near £20m the Bunburys raised for children’s charities, including those for young people with terminal/life-limiting illnesses.

A truly exceptional, larger-than-life person has sadly left us. David, we will always remember you, never forget you. Rest in Peace.

Chris Twort






inspiresport Cricket Tour 2019

Exeter School recently came back from a fantastic cricket tour to Dubai over the Autumn half-term, organised by inspiresport. We had an action-packed itinerary over 6 days, which included 5 cricket matches and some unforgettable sightseeing. Some of our matches were played under lights and we had the opportunity to play a variety of formats. Our excursion highlights included a tour to the top of the Burj Khalifa [world’s tallest building] and a breath-taking desert safari with dinner at the Bedounin Campsite. Added to that, we stayed in a fantastic hotel in the heart of Dubai. Tour Captain, James Horler adds, “The cricket was a fantastic experience, 5 games in searing heat and under floodlights was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Playing on amazing grounds with backdrops you would never get in the UK made the cricket 10 times better and to play great cricket against some good quality sides topped it off. Aside from the cricket, a trip to Wild Wadi waterpark was extremely enjoyable, especially cooling off from the heat!”


G.E.L. Ashman
Junior School Boys’ Games Coordinator

David English Final 2019

Congratulations to:

Millfield Prep and Prestfelde School who will play in the David English Final on Tuesday 9th July 2019 at Oakham School

Inspiresport U15 One Day Cup 2019

Monday 8th July 2019, Oakham School

Congratulations to the Inspiresport U15 One Day Cup Finalists:

Eton College v Trent College

MCC v ESCA 2018, Lords

MCC V ESCA, LORDS Tuesday 4th September 2018

The ESCA side, Manager, Coaches and Officials assembled at Lords on Monday 3rd September for the practice nets, prior to booking into the Danubius Hotel.  The weather was fine and warm, with the forecast for the match being good – no rain!

We joined the MCC for a very pleasant evening and good food.  Dr Dave joined us, giving an inspirational speech – before handing out the cricket shirts.  An excellent evening ended with one and all retiring to bed.  A busy and challenging day lay ahead.  Tuesday Match day dawned with some cloud, but due to clear by lunch time.  The MCC won the toss to invite ESCA to bat.  We would have to bat well as conditions favoured the bowlers.

Josh de Caires the Captain opened the ESCA batting with Robin Das.  Josh settled in well and Robin Das opened quite brightly before falling for 19.  Smeed and Wijeratne fell early with the score at 92 – 4.  Josh de Caires fell for 49.  He had played a vuluable anchor role.  Joey Evison had also played a valuable role being scored a fine 38.  ESCA would need to dig in and consolidate.  I think we did that in spades.  What followed was an outstanding record breaking unbeaten stand before Harry Duke and Luke Doneathy.

There was some wonderful stroke play from both players, some quite cheeky forwards at the end of the innings.  Luke completed a magnificent century with Harry playing his part with 60 not out.  An unbeaten century from Luke as the ESCA innings ended on 304-5.  The wickets were shared amongst the MCC bowlers.  We now see what MCC had to offer.  I suspect a lot.

Fernandes and King batted well and quickly for an opening stand of 52.  Harry Sullivan and Luke Doneathy curbed the run rate.  MCC wickets then fell steadily losing their seventh wicket for 160.  An ESCA victory seemed imminent.  What followed was almost a repeat of the ESCA innings.

MCC chased and chased hard.  The eight wicket fell at 24, the ninth at 282.  Could MCC achieve victory?  The ESCA team held its nerve bowling out for 285.  Price (60) and Brookes (57) batted extremely well.  What a match!

What followed was the presentations outside the Pavilion hosted by Lord McClaurin.  It was great to see Jos Buttler making a presentation.

The Dinner in the Long Room was and always is a privilege much enjoyed by the players and a very happy Manager.

Our thanks are due to the MCC for allowing this match to take place.  I know the players enjoy the privilege of playing at Lords.

My thanks are due to Edward, Kate , Luisa and Peter (Who looks after us in the dressing room).

Hopefully here’s to next year.

Ken Lake MBE















ESCA One Day Cup Final 2018

Tonbridge School are the winners of this year’s ESCA One Day Cup Final.  Congratulations!

David English Final 2018

Whitgift School are the winners of the David English Final 2018.  Congratulations!

ESCA Finals – Monday 9th July 2018 – Wednesday 11th July 2018

Monday 9th July 2018 – ESCA One Day Cup, Oakham

Tonbridge School v Bedford School

Tuesday 10th July 2018 – David English/Bunbury Cup, Oakham

Whitgift School v Queen Elizabeth Grammar School

Wednesday 11th July 2018 – Saracens U11 Hardball Finals