By Casey O'Connor
Like many others my week has been tinged with sadness after news broke of the death of one of the true icons of Queensland Cricket, my good mate and mentor Lew Cooper who has been battling ill health for many months. Last Thursday night with his family by his side Lew lost the challenge.
There is so much that can and has been said in the past week about Lew Cooper and there will be many more accolades, tributes and anecdotes to come between now and his funeral which will be held next at 11.00am on Tuesday at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Given Terrace Red Hill.
Lew leaves an indelible mark on Cricket in Queensland and beyond. His work as a cricket administrator is as legendary as his ability as a raconteur not to mention his talent as an outstanding wicket keeper and tireless fund raiser for good causes.
They are rare breed wicket keepers. They have their own exclusive club that the rest of us who play and love the game can only view from the outside and Lew was pretty much the master of that club. He was unafraid to call Australian selectors not matter the hour or situation to give them the wisdom of his views if he thought someone was being overlooked (especially a Queenslander) or if an incumbent keeper’s performance was in his opinion “below par”.
Lew’s list of lifetime achievements in and around cricket would more than fill this entire column and many more. His distinguished career has been recognised over the years in many ways and in a variety of forums.
His son, Lew Jnr says he has been fielding calls from not only across Australia but India, England, NZ and South Africa such was the respect and standing in which Lew was held.
There are not appropriate words to convey the sense of loss many are feeling.
Personally, I know I have lost a great mate and someone who has been a mentor since the day he took a young bloke under his wing who had just souvenired a stump during a Gabba Test match 50 years ago. Little did I or anyone else know the positive impact that moment of madness would have on my life.
Lew has now taken his place behind the stumps on the big cricket field in the sky. If he’s not barking orders from behind the stumps then you can guarantee he’ll be organising a raffle, a charity game or a cricket trip somewhere – and it will all be done his way- the correct way. I hope St Peter was a wicket keeper in his day otherwise he’s in for a hard time.
Lew Cooper will be remembered as the original “influencer” in Queensland Cricket. RIP mate.