Teacher wife of former Chorley cricket pro dies just four short of her century

A former teacher, whose husband was a well-known cricket professional in Lancashire, has died in Trinidad the age of 96.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:30 pm
Hannah, Oliver and two of their four children in Chorley in the 1950s.

Hannah Demming, wife of 1950s Northern League professional Oliver Demming, taught English and RE at Wellfield High School in Leyland

The mother-of-four came over from the West Indies in 1955 to join her husband who was playing for Chorley and the couple stayed in England until 1975.

Son Richard said his cricket-loving mum had hoped to make it to a century.

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Cricket professional Oliver Demming at Chorley CC.

"I'm sorry she didn't make the 100," he said. "She always said she didn't like it when a batsman dropped out in the 90s.

"Just one more boundary and she would have made it."

Husband Oliver, a fast bowler and big hitting batsman who played first class cricket for Trinidad and Tobago, arrived in Chorley in 1955 and set a club record by taking 88 wickets in his first season at Windsor Park.

He spent two years as the club professional and eight years playing as an amateur before becoming Darwen professional in 1968. He finished playing in the Northern League in 1972.

Hannah, who had been a teacher in Trinidad before arriving in Chorley, taught at secondary schools in England for 20 years.

She served on a committee to re-write the religious instruction syllabus for the Lancashire Education Board and also attended the University of Lancaster for a year in 1973 gaining a Diploma in Advanced Studies in Education.

After returning to the Caribbean, Hannah continued to teach while Oliver set up a shoe factory. The couple returned to Lancashire in 1998 to celebrate their golden wedding with family and friends in the UK.

"Having arrived in England in 1955 we were one of the early West Indian families settling in Chorley and at no time did we feel we were not accepted by the community," said son Richard.

"So much so that when Oliver died in Trinidad at the age of 71 she suggested he was laid to rest in Chorley. She always regarded her life in Chorley as a very rewarding experience.

"She had an unfaltering vision of what was important in a life and lived it with an unbreakable faith.

"Her sole objective was always to raise each of her children - and pupils - just a little higher towards the best that they can be in life."