The Hartlepool man who chatted to Prince Philip and enjoyed a joke about cricket and pubs in Corfu
Prince Philip was today praised as funny, knowledgeable and genuine – by a Hartlepool man who shared jokes with him.
Alan Wright’s many attributes have included being a Hartlepool Mail columnist, radio and TV presenter and a public speaker.
But he is also a key figure with the Lords Taverners which is a leading youth cricket and disability sports charity. Its charitable objective is to 'give young people a sporting chance' and it raises millions of pounds for worthy causes every year.
The role brought him into contact with the charity’s patron Prince Philip on numerous occasions and Alan’s overriding memory of the Duke of Edinburgh was of a man of great wit, and a huge ability for treating everyone he met with the same respect.
Alan reflected on his meetings with Prince Philip and how they shared many jokes together.
The Prince knew Alan as ‘Mr Durham’ because of his time as Chief Executive of Durham County Cricket Club. Alan recalled one meeting when the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen came to Durham Cricket Club for the opening of its new Riverside county cricket ground in 1995.
At the time, said Alan, the Durham team was struggling in its early days as a new first class county club.
Alan told the Prince he had seen a recording of him playing cricket as a young man.
"The Prince asked me: ‘Was I any good’. I said ‘you were not that good’. He said: ‘I would probably fit in here then!”
On another occasion, Alan asked Prince Philip, who was born in Greece, about ‘a good place for a drink in Corfu.”
“The Prince said ‘I can tell you a few places not to drink’.”
When they met again years later, the Prince asked Alan: “Did they let you out at Corfu?”
Alan said: “I told him ‘they send you their loyal greetings’ and he smacked me on the shoulder. I was told he only did that to the people he likes.”
Alan said Prince Philip had an ability to mix with everyone he met.
"Whether he was talking to a senior official or the lady making the tea, he would show them maximum respect. And what really struck me about him was his memory. He would see you perhaps six months after you last saw him and remember it all.”
The Prince was patron of the Lords Taverners from its formation in 1950 and always took time to attend its trophy presentations. Alan added: “He was our 12th man. He was not just a name on a letterhead. He was genuinely interested and he presented the trophies every year.
"He loved cricket and it was a big occasion for the men’s and women’s teams who won to be invited to receive a trophy from the Duke. It was a day you did not forget.
"Up until just a few years ago, he would speak at our events and he would be funny.”
Alan described the death of the Duke of Edinburgh as ‘a big loss’.