Many years ago I had my first experience of Old Brightonian cricket. As was often the case in those days, and indeed, some things never change, the Old Brightonians were one short and I was asked to make up the numbers.
The ball was regularly despatched to the boundary by the Tonbridge batsmen and after a while I became conscious of a sound not unlike the bark of a momentarily stimulated dog. I quickly identified the source of this sound, a slightly stooping figure patrolling the boundary with, what looked like, scarcely controlled irritation. The sound I identified as the word "crack" and later I realised that this was uttered, quite arbitrarily, when either side hit a boundary.
This was my first encounter with Pat Forster, a man whom subsequently became a valued friend, as he was, I am sure, to many of those who hold the fortunes of cricket at Brighton College to be important.
His support of Old Brightonian cricket was legendary, but, as time passed by, the journey from his home near Barnet became more difficult. Despite this, he seldom missed a Cricketer Cup match, travelling the long distance by taxi and arriving full of anticipation for a day watching the game he so dearly loved. To those who did not know him, Pat may have appeared impatient and irascible, but, as time passed, the real man was revealed. Loyal, supportive and generous are all words which quickly come to mind, but most of all, Pat was a kind man who gave his support readily, and yet could not abide low standards of manners and sportsmanship, both on and off the field.
The modern game did not appeal; he was more one for the Corinthian spirit and the good friendships he had established in his long connections with the game.
As well as being generous of spirit, Pat gave considerable financial support to a club which is usually short of funds. It was typical of him that cheques would be passed to the appropriate person in an unobtrusive manner with something of an air of embarrassment and with the suggestion that giving was a real pleasure.
He was so much a part of the Old Brightonian cricket scene that, I suspect, some of us may yet imagine we see his ghostly figure on the boundary. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him and to those who didn't, I'm afraid you have missed a very special and unique man. Brighton College was the richer, in every way, for his long and loyal friendship.