We are sad to have to report the death, earlier this summer, of George Balfour, a founder member and former club captain. George's nephew, Sandy Balfour, author of a number of books including What I Love About Cricket: One Man's Vain Attempt to Explain Cricket to a Teenager Who Couldn't Give a Toss, writes:
George Balfour was born in Kirkcaldy in 1932. He was the third son and fourth child of Tom and Rose Anna Balfour. The family moved to Edinburgh in 1935 and George started his education at Holy Cross in 1937. This was interrupted by the war; in 1940 he and his two elder brothers, Tom and Robin, were sent to boarding school in South Africa. He returned in 1945, completed his schooling and went on to do a law degree at Edinburgh University. George never practised as a lawyer, preferring to ply his trade as a publican, first in Swindon and later at Basingstoke Cricket Club, where he was something of a local legend. George was diagnosed with dementia in 2008 and spent his last few years at the Arbory Care Home in Andover, where he would regale passers by with his two favourite stories: seeing Len Hutton make a century at Lord's (against Australia in 1953) and a cover drive he played at Holy Cross that same year. In George's telling of it, his cover drive was marginally the more beautiful thing. He is survived by his son, Colin, his two grandsons, and many nephews and nieces in Scotland, England, Belgium, South Africa and Australia.
With Chris Kerr's help, we can sketch a little of George's playing career at Holy Cross. He was not merely a founder member. He also scored the club's first runs, hitting the first ball of our first innings for 3. (The outfield at Colinton Mains Park must have been long that day). As in that first game, George usually opened the batting. He also bowled off spin and was club captain for six years (1955-7;1959-60; 1963). He left for Swindon in the late 1960s but, in a fine example for all one-time Crossers, would return to play two or three games a year for the club in his summer holidays. (During this time his brother Brian was club President 1970-4). He returned to Edinburgh in 1978 and opened the batting with John Brown as the 2nds won Grade B that year. He left for England again in the late 1980s but returned for our golden jubilee celebrations in 2000. He was made an Honorary Vice President for, in Chris's words, "years of service and devotion. Well merited." RIP.