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Sir Alec Bedser

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Eric Bedser

The welcome addition of statues of Woking’s cricketing twins Alec and Eric Bedser has transformed a hitherto undistinguished new bridge over the Basingstoke canal into something that has interest at both ends. Sir Alec, who played for Surrey and England, is bowling to brother Eric, who only played for Surrey, at the other end of the bridge.  Eric appears to have smashed Sir Alec for six – and to that end, a bronze ball has been lodged in the wall of Woking borough council’s civic offices on the other side of the road. The bronze statues, by sculptor Allan Sly, were unveiled by former prime minister and Surrey cricket fan Sir John Major, who famously said upon his election defeat in 1997 that he was leaving Downing Street and was off to the Oval to watch some cricket that same afternoon – a refreshing sense of  priorities and of life after politics, some might say. There are two questions to raise about these statues, however. One question is: will/should they encourage impromptu games of cricket upon the Bedser bridge, to the inconvenience of passersby? The answer: probably not. Another question: why are the Bedser twins represented in their full, lifesize glory, while Woking’s other famous sons, The Jam, appear as three abstract blocks of wood on the other side of town? The answer: the Bedser twins grew up and lived in Woking throughout their lives. The Jam recorded a song about Woking titled Town Called Malice. The Bedsers never did that.

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