How Alastair Cook keeps alive the memory of his childhood teammate

Alastair Cook (left) and David Randall during their schooldays “They spent a lot of time together from when they were young, playing and learning from each other. They opened the batting together for Maldon Cricket Club, then Essex. It was great to watch them together“When David became ill Alastair arranged for him to visit Lords and Wimbledon, where he went just two days before he died. It was a lovely thing for Ali to do.”In an attempt to make sense of Randall’s death his mother and a group of family friends set up a foundation in his name to help people with terminal illnesses “enjoy life to the full for as long as possible” and to provide scholarships to people who demonstrate exceptional dedication and passion in sport or music, but lack the finances to pursue it. Cook looks to the heavens in memory of David Randall after achieving the last test century of his careerCredit:Paul Childs/Reuters It was the simplest of gestures, but it meant the world to Sue Randall.When Alastair Cook reached a century at The Oval last week in his last test match before retiring, the England captain removed his helmet, touched his ear and looked up to the heavens.That gesture was in tribute to his childhood team-mate David Randall, with whom Cook had come up through the ranks of junior cricket in Essex, but who died of cancer at the age of 27.The pair had met at Maldon Cricket Club, playing together in the under 10s and under 16s, with Randall breaking into the first team when he was just 13, before being selected for the England Under-15 squad.But in 2012 he fell ill with bowel cancer and died, leaving his family and friends bereft.So when Cooke touched is ear and looked skywards it was a symbolic reminder to those he loved of what Randall meant to them man who went on to become one of England’s greatest cricket players and who ended his career on such a high against India.“It’s lovely that he remembers David and keeps his memory alive in that way,” Randall’s mother Sue, a teacher, told The Sunday Telegraph. ““I was at work when Ali scored his 100, so I didn’t see it, But I am thrilled that he made such a big score in his final innings and I know David would have been too. David Randall (right) and Alastair Cook walk off the field together after clinching victory in an East Anglian Premier League match for Maldon Alastair Cook (left) and David Randall during their schooldaysCredit:Sue Randall Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Cook looks to the heavens in memory of David Randall after achieving the last test century of his career David Randall (right) and Alastair Cook walk off the field together after clinching victory in an East Anglian Premier League match for MaldonCredit:Sue Randall The foundation, which is run entirely by volunteers, helps to provide memorable days for terminally ill people and their families – such as arranging visits to Wimbledon and other great sporting occasions, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Ritz and Harry Potter World.Cook has recently written movingly for the foundation’s website about his friend, known to those who knew him well as Arkle.He said: “Arkle and I grew up opening the batting together at Essex age group cricket and at Maldon CC. I will never be embarrassed to say that David was a far better player than me! We had some great moments together and I will never forget the time when we beat Bury St. Edmunds by 10 wickets on a fantastic day at Drapers Farm [Maldon CC’s ground].”Cook says it is “a huge honour” for him to have been asked to be patron of the David Randall Foundation and that he hopes his work for it would have made his friend proud.He added: “Arkle handled his illness with great bravery and never once did we hear him complain, or say ‘Why me?’ He tried to live as normal a life as possible, refusing to give in to the illness and striving to experience as much as he could in his last few months. I think the fact that he came to Lords and visited Wimbledon in his last few weeks summed up his attitude.” Mrs Randall, who used to spend hours throwing cricket balls at her son at their home in Maldon to help him master his batting, said Cook’s association with the foundation has proved invaluable in raising funds and support. Much of the proceeds from Cook’s 2014 Benefit Year went to the charity.“Ali’s name is a great thing to have. It provides a real boost,” she said. “Because he knew David so well he really cares about it. He’s not just a figurehead. For him it’s personal. You can see that.” read more

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