Memories of Headley Down’s bobby on the motorbike and Lindford cricketer

Thursday 4th August 2022 10:41 am
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Hazel and Michael Pike ()

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Michael Pike, a former Headley Down policeman who was affiliated to Lindford Cricket Club, has died at the age of 83.

Born Michael John Neville Pike to Violet and Alec Pike on August 3, 1938, he was known as Mike and lived in Shirley Warren, Southampton, with his sister Lynda. He had a very happy and loving childhood, surrounded by family.

His parents took on the management of a pub, The Wonder Inn in Northam, Southampton, and they all moved there.

Violet died when Mike was 16, leaving him and Lynda to help Alec. Life at that time was difficult. The Wonder Inn was to be pulled down to make way for new housing and the family were re-housed in flats at Holyrood, Southampton.

Mike had always wanted to join the police cadets and then go on to be a policeman, but Alec insisted he had a trade, so he became a ship’s plumber/welder apprentice to Whites Shipyard in Woolston, Southampton.

Because of this his national service conscription was deferred from the age of 18 to 21.

Mike was a good and keen cricketer who played for several teams. On October 4, 1958, he met Hazel at the Harry Wilcocks School of Dance. This led to them getting engaged in April 1960.

Mike worked for a short time on ships before he was called up to join the forces for national service. He chose the Army. Because he was saving to get married he signed on for nine years with a three-year option to leave.

He was earning £1 a week as a national serviceman, but by signing on the money went up to £9 a week.

He did his training at Hilsea Barracks and then went on to Aldershot. He transferred to the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop and did six weeks in Libya. During his time in the Army he played a lot of sport – rugby, tug of war, football – but mainly cricket for the division. He married Hazel on June 2, 1962, and they lived with her parents.

Mike applied to come out of the Army when his three years were completed. He applied for the police, but went back to working on ships at the Harland & Wolff shipyard until December 1963 when he went to police training college in Kent.

He was posted to Fareham for two years and soon made it into the divisional cricket team.

He was then posted to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. He carried on with his cricket there. It was in Yarmouth that Mike and Hazel had their children, Allison and Jonathan.

Mike always wanted a country beat and applied for Calborne on the Isle of Wight, but instead he was posted to Headley, attached to Whitehill and Bordon.

Mike loved the country beat work and had a great rapport with the villagers. He was a common sight riding around the beat on his motorbike. He continued to play cricket for the police. He established himself at Lindford Cricket Club and was an active member for many years.

When he could play no more, he became involved in the running of the club and was treasurer for many years.

Because of ill health Mike retired from the police in 1992 after 29 years. Hazel’s father had died and her mother had come to live with them, so they bought a house in Pear Tree Road, Lindford, big enough to accommodate four generations. They lived in Lindford for 20 years until Hazel’s mother died in 2011.

Mike had a heart attack shortly afterwards, and it was decided to buy a bungalow in Lymington in the New Forest to be closer to their granddaughter and her husband.

Both Mike’s and Hazel’s health deteriorated so it was decided to extend the bungalow so their granddaughter and family could live next to them for help when needed. Mike would often tell stories of life in the police and his cricketing days.

Mike died on June 14, 2022.

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