20 AUgust 2018, Lord's, London, United Kingdom
My Dad, John Taylor, had – unlike the current England batting line-up – dug in and battled doggedly to reach 83.
He built gradually through his 50s as a true gentleman, a pharmacist, a sportsman and a father of two boys before unexpected cloud cover descended just as he was looking to break free from the shackles and play with the freedom that retirement would bring.
On an ever-increasingly sticky wicket, he faced up and defended against a beamer in the form of leukemia, the yorker of muscular dystrophy, the googly of Parkinson’s, the reverse swing of diabetes, and latterly, was struck down by the vicious bouncer of dementia.
But like fellow Yorkshireman Brian Close, he never winced, complained or succumbed to the temptation of amateur dramatics, he just accepted the cards he was dealt and squeezed every last drop out of life that he could on a single-by-single basis with his amazing care team acting as runners.
On 83, dad finally faced the inevitable, unplayable delivery and left the field of play.
I use this cricket analogy because Test Match Special has been and will continue to be an institution of great importance to generations of our family.
Dad was rushed to hospital on Thursday 9th August with another bad chest infection. On Friday, we were told that he had 24 to 48 hours to live and that he may in fact never regain consciousness.
On the Saturday I visited Dad in hospital with my wife, and after an hour she had the inspirational idea of getting Test Match Special on my mobile. After five minutes, he opened his eyes and was completely in the room and aware of us.
He was able to convey that he was comfortable and was at peace. I was able to tell him what a wonderful father he is and just how much I love him.
Not one comfortable with massive shows of emotion, after 15 minutes he requested that we listen to the cricket.
For three hours we listened to Chris Woakes crashing it about at Lord’s and making his maiden Test century. We got a digital radio into Dad’s hospital room and he listened to Test Match Special the next day.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that he passed peacefully just after England had sealed victory.