DON MANN 1932-2012

 The Funeral was held at St Oswald’s Oswestry

Don Mann a former stalwart of cricket in Uganda  and regular Nomad in the late seventies and eighties has died Tuesday January 10th. Don taught maths at Makerere University Kampala for many years before returning to UK. A very tall and large man he was a fine seam bowler and hard hitting batsman in his prime.

Both his sons Russell and Middy have played for Nomads. Russell  has played a lot for Nomads and toured many times. He was club skipper for several years.

Born on 4 December 1931, son of Alfred and Frances and older brother to Sheila, ‘Don’ grew to become a larger-than-life figure, both in stature and spirit. Growing up in Oswestry, Shropshire, he attended the Boys’ High School (where he was known as ‘Pongo’), learned to play the church organ, bell-ring and received local acclaim as a boy chorister at St Oswald’s Parish Church. He went on to read mathematics at the University of Leeds, graduating with a first class degree and MSc. In 1956 he married fellow Leeds graduate Joyce Hepher, after which he briefly worked in Bristol as an aeronautical engineer, before setting off to Kampala, Uganda (with Joyce and infant daughter), to work as a mathematics lecturer at the University of Makerere. 

There, he enjoyed thirteen happy years amongst fellow academics and at the crease, honing his talent as a batsman and cricketing general. Three more children were raised in Uganda until the family’s premature departure in 1972. Don played frequently for Uganda Kobs and also played in an East African XI. He was a member also of MCC.

Don was a hard hitting batsman and skillfull seam bowler. He not take too kindly to over aggressive bowlers and when thus confronted would take two steps forward and smash a bounday exclaiming ”take that young man !”  Terrible runner between the wickets, he had no sense of urgency which is probably why he prefered time(declaration) cricket?However with others he was less patient with others, barracking  stonewall batsmen with aloud cry of “Get on with it or get out !”  However away from the cricket field he could be very helpful to young cricketers with non cricket and creer matters.

Moving to London, Don took up the position of senior lecturer at the University of London and warden of International Hall. Often described as an eccentric, Don worked hard to improve the pastoral care of his students, setting up a variety of cultural events inspired by his own broad-ranging interest in the arts. Within the mathematics department, his body of work was distinguished, and his lectures memorable (although, to colleagues, he jokingly referred to himself as a ‘flannelled fool’). He joined Nomads Cricket Club at this time which had East African connections and played regularly for them as well as other clubs like UCL Academicals.

After 25 years, at IH they moved to Torrington Square in Bloomsbury, once the home of Christina Rossetti the famous Victorian poet who wrote the lyrics to one of his favourites hymns ‘In the deep Mid-Winter’ which was sung at his funeral.

He and Joyce retired 3 years later to the Candy valley in Shropshire, where Don continued to bell-ring, sing in a choir and delight in his garden, his books, and his beloved cats.

He leaves behind the East African Wanderers’ Cricket Tour, which he started in 1972, and which his two sons now run, as well as four children, five grand-children and his wife, Joyce, who cared for Don throughout his married life and whom he loved dearly.

Charles Donald Mann died peacefully on 10 January 2012, aged 80 years.

East Africans Wanderers XI 2003 with Don centre at the back beside the ‘Pope’. Since 2003 part of Nomads fixture list.