Tributes to one of Wellesbourne's most memorable characters, Ernie 'Ern' Wilson

“The world is a much poorer place without Ernie. But without question, Wellesbourne's a better place for having him in it”
Ern Wilson and ChipErn Wilson and Chip
Ern Wilson and Chip

Wellesbourne has lost one of its memorable characters in Ernie 'Ern' Wilson.And there were many tributes to his love of people and sport by his friends at Wellesbourne Cricket Club, Stratford Oaks Golf Club, neighbours at the Dovehouse, and people from as far away as Essex, Yorkshire and Cornwall.Ernie Wilson died at Warwick Hospital, aged 93, on May 22. Over a hundred people attended the service of thanksgiving on June 8 and the celebration that followed at the cricket club.Here is a tribute to him by his friend Peter Bowen.

Ernie never said a bad word about anyone or anything. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word and recognised as caring and sociable by everyone who knew him but with an endearing sense of humour. He had an interest in politics, current affairs and an active social life, meeting up with neighbours at the Dovehouse for afternoon tea on every Monday, and lunch later in the week.

Ernie had a ready smile and a friendly greeting and was a popular figure at the Oaks Golf Club and at the cricket club, where he enjoyed watching Grandsons Gary and Jamie hit boundaries all over the ground with the family dog “Chip” by his side barking at every four runs. He was a favourite with visitors and the opposition alike for his love of the game but also for the many jokes and stories about sport.

Amazing was the impact he had on people in only 18 years in Wellesbourne after leaving Dagenham in 2006 with his wife Rene to be closer to his daughter, Lesley Maynard, Gary and Jamie. Sadly, Rene passed away five years years later.

Ernie was a competitive golfer. A founder member of the Ford Golf Club, member of the Orsett Golf Club in Essex, and life-long supporter of West Ham FC. He claimed the team saved his life in 1949 as he had time-off from his work on a gun pit in Hammersmith to watch a home game, missing the afternoon explosion that killed his friend. “I should have been with him,” he explained.

As the congregation left the service of thanksgiving to the tune of “I'm forever blowing bubbles” sung by the West Ham Cup Squad in 1975, the civil celebrant paid this lasting tribute: “The world is a much poorer place without Ernie. But without question, Wellesbourne's a better place for having him in it as shown by the attendance of so many of you today.”

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