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Memories of Danny Burrell – Chris Talbot  (1955)       Newspaper cutting: Retirement of Danny

Danny Burrell used to live in a house in Harrowden Road with a garden that backed on to the garden of John Cousens’ house in Gold Street so he knew John from day one when he was a stranger to the rest of us. In the first week he asked one nervous boy his name. That admirably polite lad prefaced his every remark by the word “Sir” but on this luckless occasion the stuttered result of “Sir, sir, --- Suspencer, sir” was enough to bring the rest of the form to its knees with laughter and certainly broke the ice. 

Over the ensuing year we all got to know each other well and he turned out to be an old master in the grand tradition, often preferring to talk rather than teach. One session was devoted to the objective of cricket which must have had an unconscious effect on me because I turned from a lively tip-and-runner into a cautious player who never seemed to score many runs. Danny’s thesis was that the prime objective in cricket was to protect and defend the wicket. If only he had said it was to score more runs than the opposition or to win the match, then as an impressionable lad I might have had a brilliant cricket career like my father. 

Danny used to cycle to school on an old touring bike which had a saddlebag capacious enough to carry all his books. It was a machine whose gearing to me was unique – I have never seen its like before or since. It combined a Sturmey-Archer hub with the multi-sprocket of derailleur gears and had the ability to produce a ratio so low that Danny could cycle up Doddington Road at a pace that would not even have made a tortoise hurry. This was essential because with a slightly game leg and advancing years he was not as sprightly as we young things on our brand-new Raleigh sports bikes gained from passing the 11-plus. 

Looking back I think that Danny was highly instrumental and effective in facilitating an easier passage for us from primary school into an institution whose senior pupil members (to me) seemed to look and sound like (and almost were) fully grown men.

Newspaper cutting: Retirement of Danny   1958