Bedford cricketing great celebrated in Son’s best-selling book

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Peter Oakley at Lords with the ground staff in 1951 (Image: PublishNation)

While many of us spent our lockdown days diving into Netflix or sampling the wide array of Bedford’s takeaways, (or both), one man used his time delving into the archives of one of the town’s cricket legends.

Andrew Oakley, who now lives in Northamptonshire, has spent much of the past year gathering stories from local legend – his Father, 87-year old Peter “Oakers” Oakley.

The sporting memoir follows Peter from his exciting teenage years that included being invited to Lord’s all the way through to achieving his ‘veteran off-spinner’ tag with the now defunct Bedford Town Cricket Club.

The biography also goes in-depth into his successful coaching career at Bedford School, with the foreword provided by the School’s most famous cricketing expat, Sir Alastair Cook.

“It’s very much about getting the message across that making the most of your social network will support your mental wellbeing and enrich your life”, said author Andrew.

“When people look out for each other, a sense of community is created, and people want to be part of the team.”

Since the book’s publication in August, the memoir has earned a lot of positive words, with one review stating, “Through the eyes of one man, the love and changing times of cricket shines through.”

Andrew believes the book is more than a sporting memoir however, also showing the power of social connections, resilience and a passion for sport across decades of dedication to cricket.

The delightful biography has also been described as ‘entertaining’, ‘full of interest’ and ‘for cricket lovers everywhere’ in a string of five-star reviews.

Andrew’s first book comes many years after he was encouraged at Bedford Modern School to pursue his writing interests.

The 57-year-old father-of-one, who also played for and captained Bedford Town Cricket Club, has enjoyed his own successes as a senior training and development manager.

But he has always harboured a notion to tell his father’s story.

Andrew added, “I was always aware of dad’s wonderful life, and just felt compelled to replay it by engaging him and understanding more about the detail of his enthralling journey.”

“I was aware that I could also share some important messages to the reader, linked to the benefits in maintaining a healthy social network.”

While Bedford Town Cricket Club has since folded and been replaced by Bedford Cricket Club, the memories made at The Bury live on since it’s heady days of hosting minor counties and Ashes tour matches.

Some of these are included in this biography; where the memories of one of Bedford’s sporting veterans are immortalised in print.

It’s Not What You Know… Peter Oakley, Veteran Off-Spinner’ is available to purchase in paperback and Kindle versions.

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