We are indebted to past pupil and 2019 Grammarian contributor Barry McClelland for drawing our attention to the omission of the late Dr Maurice Chestnutt from the magazine’s obituaries section. Maurice, who attended Connor House and Bangor Grammar School between 1959 and 1971, passed away at his home in Gloucestershire on 3 March 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Aged 65, he is survived by his wife Fiona, children Alexander, Katherine and Elisabeth, and the wider family circle.
Barry pays this personal tribute to his boyhood friend and classmate:
Memories of Maurice Chestnutt take me back to Ballyholme Park and the summer of ’65. We had just finished our first year at the Grammar School, which included that first summer term enjoying the delights of school cricket. A number of us, who lived in the Ballyholme area, had been involved with the school team, so it seemed a natural extension that we would enjoy playing cricket through the holiday months of July and August, and Ballyholme Park would be our venue.
This intrepid band of cricketing wannabees included Warren Upritchard, Eric Lambert, Charlie Millar, Stewart Orr, Brian McDowell, Gary McCausland, as well as Maurice and myself, all from the same year at school, whilst Gordon Cameron added that bit more experience, and David McKee and Arnie Parkinson were involved as junior partners. My apologies if I have left anybody out. I do remember Peter Dornan playing the odd game with us, when he had nothing better to do, but he was always a much better footballer!
And this would have been our routine through the summers of ’65, ’66 and ’67; playing for the school in the months of May and June; playing in Ballyholme Park through July and August. Sadly, I retired from the scene in the summer of ’68. The prospect of paid employment – hiring out deck chairs from the bathing boxes at Ballyholme Beach – proved too great an attraction.
I do believe the rest of the gang carried on playing for both school and in The Park, with most of them carrying on through, to appear for the school 1st XI in the summer terms of 1970 and 1971. Maurice was a more than useful left arm fast bowler, who could make the ball swing in to the right-handed batsman. Mind you, he did not particularly like batting himself. He would invariably volunteer to bat at number 11 in the hope that his services, with the willow in his hands, would not be needed!
I recall that Maurice also enjoyed Chemistry. The rumours varied from him having the most comprehensive and amazing chemistry set, to his very own, full blown, chemistry lab at his home. I have these visions of Maurice undertaking experiments in anything from nuclear fission to turning base metals into gold!
Maurice was, indeed, a character.