SOMERSET County Cricket Club are mourning the sad loss of Michael Hill who had a long association with club and  passed away on December 27th 2022 surrounded by his family aged 88, writes Richard Walsh.

Michael was born at Stockland Lovell, near Bridgwater  in 1934 and had his first experience of cricket when his mother Jacky would take him to watch his father Froude playing cricket for the local Fiddington team.

When war broke out in 1939 a Kentish school, Wellington House was evacuated to Somerset to Alfoxton Park and in 1941 at the age if six and a half  Michael joined the school as a weekly border .

When the school went back to Westgate, Kent in 1946 the young Michael went with them and the following year moved to become a pupil at King’s Canterbury.

He got to see his first ever game of cricket in 1946 when he went to watch Middlesex play Hampshire at Lord’s 

Growing up Michael’s heroes were Jack White and Harold Gimblett.

On leaving school he returned home to work on the family farm, but always got to watch one day’s cricket a year, which was normally Somerset against the tourists in Taunton, along with hs father.

In 1960 Somerset County Cricket Club was short of money and asked for a loan in return for membership so both Michael and his father loaned £60 each Five years later the pair were asked if they would like to give the money to the club in return for life membership, which turned out to be a very good investment!

Michael started to go along to the Somerset County AGMs and after becoming frustrated with what was going on behind the scenes he became involved with the committee. In 1969 he was voted in as one of the nine  appointed vice president members.

This was the start of a long and successful association with the running of the club during which he served as Chairman of Cricket, Chairman of SCCC and President from which he stepped down in 2003.

During his time Michael was involved with the signing of Brian Close as captain under whose charge a young Somerset team including Ian Botham, Peter Denning, Brian Rose, Viv Richards and Joel Garner won the club’s first ever trophies. 

He was also Chairman at the time of the Shepton Mallet EGM in 1986 as a result of which Botham Garner and Richards all departed from Somerset.

Throughout his long and successful involvement with the club Michael always did what he thought was best for Somerset.  

Reflecting on the EGM some years later Michael said: “I was always determined to try to make things go the right way or as I thought. I guess I was a steadying hand and remained calm despite what was going on.”

One of the highlights of his years as president of Somerset was winning the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy at Lord’s in 2001.

Although he was running a highly successful farming business Michael was to be seen at the County Ground on most match days and regularly travelled to away fixtures, and became a well known figure on the domestic cricketing scene.

Michael was responsible for the re-introduction of the Somerset CCC Yearbook in 1979 and from 1987 until 2003 edited the publication, which in addition to  being a record of the season included articles from the national press all who held him in the highest regard.

Michael Hill was a true gentleman and highly respected by everyone who met him. He will go down as one of those responsible for Somerset becoming the club that it is today.

A private family funeral will be held followed by a thanksgiving service later in the New Year.