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THE passion of the man was found in the wisdom felt first when he clasped the red ball behind the stumps on a dusty wicket, where the boys played and dreamed.

"How is that?" he called and that cry would be heard many times, as he became one of the most distinguished black cricketers on Merseyside.

Nothing was more important to him than fairness, in work and sport, everywhere. Later, Clovis Roach would tell his fine sons that when all had been seen, heard and done and there was nothing left to note but the colour of your skin, the point had been made.

Six feet and broad of shoulder, Roach became the first black probation officer in England. He was also one of the first black men to play in the Liverpool Cricket Competition, keeping wicket for the Birkenhead Park team, which won championship five times between 1960 and 64. He was a life president of the club.

Roach's model was Learie Constantine, a Trinidadian cricketer and the grandson of a slave, who played in the Lancashire League and gained 18 caps for the West Indies. More importantly, he qualified in law and was raised to the peerage for his work in promoting racial equality, which he also pursued with the Rotarians.

In 1941, Roach came to the UK to work as an engineer in the Royal Ordnance factory, Fazakerley. He had been raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where his parents were Cecil and Amy May, who ran a shop. But much of his childhood was spent with his grandparents, Alexander, a prison officer, and Louise, a nurse and midwife.

He stayed at the factory until 1962 when he joined the probation service, working in Litherland, Kirkby and Prescot, before becoming the Liverpool Crown Court liaison officer in 1978, retiring in 1982. In 1977, he was appointed MBE.

His sons, Colin and Kent, and his three grandchildren, are comforted by the thought that he has rejoined his wife, Elsie, who died two years ago, and they are sweethearts again.

A service is being held at Southport Crematorium at 12.30 on Monday (April 4).

Clovis Maidstone Roach'

born January 25, 1918, died March 22, 2006
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Mar 29, 2006
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