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Blind Cricket mourns Charles Ronayne

17th August 2017

It is with great sadness that BCEW have to pass on the news that well-known and very well-liked Metro cricketer Charles Ronayne passed away on the 16th August, at the age of 33. Charles collapsed whilst on holiday with friends and, despite immediate attempts to revive him, he never regained consciousness.

Charles began playing blind cricket in 2000 when he started at New College Worcester, in fact his first match was just six days after he started at the college in a season-ending fixture against South Wales Dragons.

Over the following 17 years Charles most notably played for London Sports, Northants Steelbacks, Essex Tigers and London Metro, as well as a few guest appearances for Yorkshire VICC and Metro Devils. He also played for the BCEW All Stars team at the first Twenty20 Finals Day.

Off the field Charles helped edit the previous blind cricket website (WWW.BlindCricket.org.uk) mainly between 2006 and 2008, he was a driving force in the founding of the Essex Tigers club that reached the 2009 BBS Cup Final, and he represented several of the teams he played for at the BCEW AGM.

On the field, Charles was a true all rounder. A solid batsman, he scored a half century for Worcester against the MCC in the early 2000's and whilst that remained his highest score, he did play other vital innings including earlier in the 2017 season when he shared a remarkable last wicket partnership for Metro v Warwickshire that lasted around 25 overs and came within one ball of securing an unlikely draw.

Charles also took over 100 wickets in national level competitions, his best bowling figures coming for Northants against Metro Devils in 2011 when he took 5 for 31. He was also a talented wicketkeeper and took some excellent catches when fielding in the outfield too. He even stood in as an umpire or scorer on occasions to enable games to go ahead, even though being partially sighted himself these jobs must have been very difficult.

Charles also played football for London and London Metro, and was one of the star players when London won the Partially Sighted Football League and Cup double in 2014; so much so that he won the league’s player of the year award that season.

Charles had two cricketing moments that he was most proud of, the first came in 2008 when he was involved in a blind cricket demonstration at Lords Cricket Ground during the lunch break of that season’s one day cup final between Essex Eagles and Kent Spitfires. Along with the other participants, Charles watched the end of the first innings from the famous Long Room so that when the players left the field, including the Essex team who he was an ardent supporter of, they passed within touching distance. Not only did Charles then get to play at Lord's alongside his father, but he also got to see Essex lift the cup later that afternoon.

The other event Charles was so proud of was playing extremely well for Essex Tigers in the 2009 BBS Cup Final which was held at Edgbaston. Charles opened the bowling for Essex and dismissed England captain Matt Dean before later also removing former England captain Heindrich Swanepoel and future England international Amit Amin as he finished with 3 for 34 from his six overs.

Outside of sport, Charles was part of a Blue Peter Sight Savers group that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 1999, when he was only 15 years old. He was a University graduate and was employed since around 2009 by Barking & Dagenham Council.

Although he was a talented sportsman, for those who knew Charles it was his kindness, sense of fair play and the fact that he would always help people whenever he could that will long be remembered.

British Blind Sport & BCEW Vice Chairman Dave Gavrilovic said of Charles: “Charles’s passing at such a young age is a tragedy for his many friends, and both BBS and BCEW want to express their condolences and sympathies to his friends and family at this dreadful time.

“I first met Charles on his first day at New College Worcester in September 2000 and I considered Charles to be one of my best friends, and whilst it is a terrible loss for me I know there are many people that he played football or cricket with or who he went to school or university with who are feeling a massive sense of loss today too.

“Charles was one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, but because he could be quite quiet at times not everyone realised how clever he was or what a good sense of humour he had.

“A mark of his kindness was that whenever he played cricket, Charles always made sure all of the totally blind players were looked after, even those on the opposition team. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him well have lost count of the amount of times we were helped by him and we will all have loads of great stories to remember time spent with Charles by.

“Rest in peace Charlie Boy!”.

If you would like to pass along your condolences, sympathies or your memories of Charles please either comment where this is posted on social media, or email DavidGavrilovic@yahoo.co.uk. These will be collected and passed on to Charles’s family.