“Woolers” is laid to rest

By Barry Newcombe, SJA Chairman
The funeral service for Ian Wooldridge, the Daily Mail sports columnist, took place today at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Milton, near to Ian’s home village of Bashley in Hampshire. Interment followed at the Gore Road cemetery.

Many colleagues were present at the service with the Daily Mail sports department well represented along with friends from many journalistic and other outlets.

Ian’s coffin was borne into the church by a field gun team from the competition of which he was such a devoted fan. There were readings from Ian’s family and a tribute from his nephew Mike Wooldridge.

The setting on a beautiful sunlit day close to the south coast was far removed from central London, but the sounds of Fleet Street were not. The Daily Mail had arranged for the choir from St Bride’s, the journalists’ church, to be present at the service.

The reception was at the beautifully manicured New Milton Cricket Club. Each guest was offered a copy of the New Milton Advertiser, the paper where Ian was a cub reporter. He left them for greater things but he never forgot his heritage.

Neither did they forget him: “A and T Reporter Became Greatest Sports Writer of his Era” was the heading over the front page lead of the latest edition.

Details of a memorial service for Ian Wooldridge will be posted on this website as soon as available.

Hugh McIlvanney on Wooldridge:

It is an honour to have worked in the same era as Ian Wooldridge, a precious privilege to have known him as a friend for more than 40 years. Though he would have snorted at the suggestion, he repeatedly pulled off the minor miracle of making our way of getting a living seem like a proper job for a grown-up person.

Read the excellent Kevin Mitchell’s fine piece about the end of the Wooldridge era by clicking here

And read our tribute to Woolers, with links to obituaries and other coverage of his life by clicking here