Test Match Sofa
New Kent president Bevan 'lost for words'
By Mark Pennell
Kent fans can look forward to watching their cricket with a smile next summer following the news that comedian and raconteur Bob ‘The Cat’ Bevan is to become the county’s next president.
Proposed for the honorary position by former Kent and England captain Mike Denness, who is the current president, ‘The Cat’ will pounce into his new role at the club's annual meeting in March next year.
A former journalist and PR executive with Townsend Thoresen Ferries, the 67-year-old hails from Dulwich in South London but now lives in Bells Yew Green, near Tunbridge Wells, with his wife Laura - a former actress and one-time dancer with Pan’s People.
An amateur goalkeeper of ill repute, hence his nickname, Bevan believes he is also probably the worst cricketer ever to have held the Kent presidency. He has been closely involved with Kent cricket, however, since 1983 when he helped out with Graham Johnson's benefit year.
He said: “I really can’t quite believe it. It wasn’t something I ever considered I could be eligible for. I was overwhelmed when I got the call from Mike Denness, and I’ve remained in that state of mind since. When I look at the presidents’ board at Canterbury and see the names of the legends to have gone before me - Lord Harris, Les Ames, 'Hopper' Levett, Jim Swanton, Lord Cowdrey - I find it even harder to take in.
“It’s one of the four most amazing things to have happened to me in my life, along with receiving the MBE, Crystal Palace getting to the FA Cup final and marrying my wife. The trouble is, Laura’s a little upset as I haven’t decided which order they should go in yet.
“But when Mike told me the news I was, for once, lost for words. I’d never aspired or even fantasised about becoming Kent president because, in my eyes, there were so many worthy people ahead of me that I wasn’t even in the frame.
“Mike has been such a long-time friend, so for the nomination to come from him makes it all the more special. Especially when you consider that for past 30 years he’s had to listen to me introducing him at lunches as ‘the last Scotsman to captain England – we hope!’”
Denness said: "This has been a tremendous year for me, and my wife Doreen and I have thoroughly enjoyed all that it has entailed. It has been a huge privilege to serve as the club’s president, which is something that I never expected.
“I am extremely pleased that Bob has agreed to be the president for 2013. I am certain that Bob will make a fantastic contribution to the club, and I have absolutely no doubt that this news will be extremely well received by Kent cricket supporters.”
A leading light on the charity circuit, and an in-demand MC and after-dinner speaker, Bevan is an Honorary Barker in the Variety Club, a member of the Grand Order of Water Rats and a former Trustee of the Lord’s Taverners. He is a member of SPARKS and the Wooden Spoon Society, and a past president of the Old Wilsonians’ Association, the West Kent Lord’s Taverners and Bells Yew Green CC where in a 14-year period he led the fund-raising of some £250,000 to build a pavilion and secure a long lease on the ground.
He has appeared on TV quiz show
and alongside Terry Wogan on
and has written gags for a number of leading comedians and speeches for William Hague MP, Lord Coe, Sir David Frost and a host of other industrialists and politicians.
Bevan is also a vice-president of Dulwich Hamlet FC, Tonbridge Angels FC, Middlesex Wanderers FC and Old Wilsonians FC. He is a former vice-president and lifelong supporter of Crystal Palace where he is still a season ticket holder. He was awarded the MBE in 2004 for services to charity and fund-raising for sports clubs.
He added: “I’m looking forward to a really fun year representing the club and, by wearing my best cardigans and woollen jumpers, I can hopefully help raise the awareness of Kent’s Woolley 2012 appeal – which is a serious project to raise funds to refurbish the Frank Woolley Stand at the St Lawrence Ground."
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