Club secretary dies on holiday

Roger Handley
Roger Handley

A POPULAR cricket club secretary who spent decades working in Sheffield’s scissor manufacturing industry has died suddenly while on holiday abroad.

Roger Handley, aged 68, who helped to run Totley Cricket Club, suffered a heart attack during a break in Cyprus with his partner of more than 30 years, Allyson Handley.

Allyson said she has been left ‘devastated’ by Roger’s tragic death, which happened on her 54th birthday, adding he will be much-missed in Sheffield’s cricketing community.

“He enjoyed everything about the club, he loved it,” she said.

“A lot of people know him through cricket and at Totley. He’d always got a smile on his face and he would help anybody.

“Before you saw him you heard his laugh.”

Allyson said Roger had felt unwell in the days before the holiday, but his doctor put his symptoms down to anxiety.

“We just wanted to get away for a break from everything, because he had had a lot on his plate recently.

“A year ago I was taken into hospital with breast cancer and this year his mum was taken into a home because she had got Alzheimer’s. We just wanted to chill out, relax and go for walks.

“Roger was really looking forward to it. He said he didn’t feel 100 per cent, we went and saw the doctor but she thought it was anxiety.

“He said ‘Would I be OK to go on holiday?’ and she said yes.”

The couple flew out to Ayia Napa, but Roger’s illness then returned.

“He started waking up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get his breath. It went on for three days, so I took him to a private clinic.

“I got him in for 8am, they did tests on him and by 10.15 he had died. I just screamed when they told me.”

Allyson said a doctor told her Roger had probably suffered a heart attack three days previously, which went undetected until his death on October 18.

“The holiday rep brought me back to the hotel - I didn’t know where I was. I was devastated. I wanted to be home with my family.”

Roger was born at Skye Edge and then moved with his parents to Mansfield Road, Intake, where he lived for the rest of his life.

He attended Intake and Hurlfield Schools, and after leaving established his own scissor-grinding workshop on Sylvester Street in Sheffield.

Roger met Allyson while she was working nearby at the William Parkin factory, which produced knives.

Allyson said they didn’t have children together, but had a niece and two nephews whom Roger ‘idolised’.

As a young man he played football at Woodbourn Road in Attercliffe, and was introduced to Totley Cricket Club in the 1970s.

“He was asked to play for Totley - he played for them on a Saturday and Fir Vale on a Sunday,” Allyson said.

“He really liked his sport. He finished playing a few years ago because he had bad knees, but he always used to take his cricket kit and bat along with him. He watched them play, kept score and acted as umpire.”

Roger later took up a job with a firm in Halfway which produced scissors and computer parts, before retiring three years ago.

His funeral took place at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium last Thursday.

“I did him proud,” Allyson said. “It was packed, three deep at the back. He was a popular bloke.”

Following the service, funds were collected for a bench to be installed at Totley, dedicated to Roger.