It was never going to be enough to have just the one memorial event to celebrate the life of Ben Hiscox. It was like the man himself. Why have just the one pint or, thanks to his father’s dubious influence, one bet when you can have two?
And of course Stoke Gifford and the rest of the world was never going to forget about the well known misprint Dennis Cox. We never will. Why have one name when you can have two?
On Sunday 27 March, the law states that you must be at Little Stoke Playing Fields by midday for the Memorial Match itself between sworn enemies Stoke Gifford and Little Stoke. My initial thought was that midday on a Sunday might be a tad early for some of our villagers who have a tendency to imbibe to excess, and usually more, on a Saturday night. My guess is that this could be one of the first games to be played with a number of the players wearing dark glasses. Come rain or shine – and let’s be honest: the sun always shines on Ben Hiscox – I will see you all there.
The game will be followed by what the club describes as ‘refreshments’ back at Stoke Gifford Football Club on the North Road. These refreshments will, I expect, include diet coke, assorted crisp flavours and cheese. And if you believe that, you will believe anything.
For the youngsters – so this won’t include the likes of the Sheriff or, quite frankly, myself – there will be a live band in the Beaufort in the evening. It’s a toss up between Coldplay and Muse, so I understand.
The next big event – once again, attendance is compulsory – is on Thursday 31 March where we will join the Hiscox family in the Beaufort to raise a glass to Ben and to share memories and stories. Well, at least the stories that are repeatable. Lovable village urchin Paddon told me there are a lot of stories out there which are not repeatable in a family environment so perhaps if we ply him with enough drink he might tell all.
It is right that we will always mourn Ben’s passing, but I also know a lot of people, especially the family, would like to celebrate this man’s life. Never have I known a man unite a village like Ben Hiscox. We all have many more friends than we did this time last year and it has been a huge honour to get to know the close family and become friends with people who before were acquaintances. He has bequeathed to the village an incredible legacy and I can’t wait to see you all, twice, before the end of the month.
Up the village.