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Christine Pardoe, 1936-2023

Updated: Jan 22

Christine Frances Hyde Pardoe MBE (nee Whalley-Tooker) died peacefully in Hawkhurst, Kent in December 2023, after a short illness, aged 87.

She was the daughter of Hyde Charnock Whalley-Tooker born in Cambridge in 1936.

In 1964 she married Major Michael (Mike) Edward Hugh Pardoe.

Mike had served with the Berkshire Regiment in Burma and the Middle East. In Normandy, on D-Day, he secured Juno Beach for the invasion. On leaving the Army he took up teaching at Marlborough House School in Hawkhurst. There he met the school secretary, Christine. They had two sons, Edward and Timothy, who remain members of the Hambledon Club.

Christine was well known for her voluntary work in Hawkhurst and was awarded an MBE “for services to the League of Friends of Hawkhurst Cottage Hospital”.

Her father was an Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, and a Senior Tutor and lecturer in Law from 1931 to 1967. He was the son of Edward Whalley-Tooker who was born in Wem, Shropshire in 1883.

Christine Pardoe, Edward Whalley Tooker and CB Fry

Edward became the lifeblood of the Hambledon Club and Broadhalfpenny Down at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. His ancestry at the Club went back to Mr Tooker who, the minutes state, was elected a member in May 1773 and Mr Whalley elected in July 1779.

He was a sheep farmer at Hinton Daubney and captain of Denmead Cricket Club. In 1883 he played a first-class match for Hampshire. In 1897 he was appointed captain of the Hambledon Club, a position that he held until 1936.

In 1907 Edward proposed that a memorial to the old Hambledon players be erected on Broadhalfpenny Down. He discussed this with C B Fry who was wholly supportive. They raised the required funds and the Memorial was unveiled in September 1908, when a match was played between Hambledon (captained by E. Whalley-Tooker) and All England – won by Hambledon. This match was designated first-class.

On New Year’’s Day 1929, Whalley-Tooker captained the Hampshire Eskimos against the Invalids. However, the match was interrupted by the Hambledon Hunt – the Master of the Hambledon Hunt being Edward’s elder brother Hyde.

Edward was extremely well respected in the community and was appointed a Justice of the Peace. On retiring as captain Edward was elected President until he died in 1940. He was succeeded by his wife, Dorothy, until she died in 1962. Both are buried in Hambledon Churchyard.

On the death of her parents, Christine inherited all of her father’s papers and items relating to the Hambledon Club. This included the old punch bowl and the original hand-written manuscript of John Nyren’s Cricketers of My Time. Ashley Mote had access to this manuscript and published a book on the subject, which was launched by Christine and Ashley at the Cricketers Club, London in 1998. The President of the MCC, Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie, was present at the launch. Christine last visited Hambledon in 2008 for the Centenary Match where she met up with the grandsons of C B Fry.

Obituary written by renowned cricket historian, Stephen Saunders


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