In Memory of Bill Pritchard 24th March 1940-5th October 2014
On 5th of October this year my friend and comrade, Bill Pritchard, died from Motor Neurone Disease. He had been suffering from the illness for 3 years and in that time I had seen a fit and healthy man whither away. Bill had always been active and walked nearly everywhere. He found the disease frustrating as first he lost the use of his arms and then the strength to stand.
Those of you who became involved in The Club after 2008 probably never met Bill which is a great pity because one of the things he truly loved was meeting the new people who got involved at Albion Street.
He moved to Bradford in the late 70's to study Peace Studies, prior to this he had travelled the world after leaving his job as a mining electrician at Whitwell and then Cresswell collieries in North Derbyshire. At the latter pit he had been elected president of their branch of the National union of Mineworkers. Working class politics were a fundamental of Bill's life.
He became involved in the 1in12 Club in 1981 and when the Club acquired it's own base on Albion Street and opened there in 1988 he was instrumental in purchasing first a pool table, then a full size snooker table (later removed much to his disgust), a table football table (later replaced with a newer model) The money from these tables funded the Club's adventures in a pool and doms league and then the Airedale Quiz League. Sue Hocknell wrote in a card she sent to Bill's funeral “through the 1in12 Games Collective Bill taught me not only the simple pleasure of doms but through his example I learned the dialogue and solidarity it is possible to build through quietly being engaged with our wider community”
Those words sum up perfectly the important role Bill played in the history of the 1in12Club. He was a vibrant and articulate man, never afraid to speak his mind and stand his ground, especially if he could have a pint of bitter while doing so (with a tight creamy head of course). Not everyone agreed with him but that didn't matter. He had joined the Club for just that reason, there was no party line and he believed implicitly that experienced lived was the best form of education and consequently people should not be criticised if they appeared naïve or immature. Over the years at
the 1in12 Club he had many arguments but ultimately defended the concept of the Club. It was very important to him to that it was a club and you had to join and sign up to the principles of Liberty, Equality and Solidarity. Bill believed in working class solidarity, a belief forged in his early life both in and before the pit. and would always try and join any picket line to offer his support to striking workers
He was born on an army camp in Aldershot but when his father was killed at Monte Cassino his mother returned to her native Derbyshire and the family joined others in squatting a former POW camp until they were given a council house. As he always said, this was squatting from necessity not a lifestyle choice. He passed his 11 plus and went to Stavely Grammar School in Netherthorpe. Education remained an important part of Bill's life and he took several evening classes at Bradford University up until the early part of this century
I will close with more words from Sue that say so much about Bill and the values he held so dear.
“We don't always agree on the minutiae, but Bill's strong socialist principles of solidarity and justice are values that I will continue to carry with me. He will be missed” Indeed he will.