A letter read out by cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew detailing the life and death of a reader’s father has had people reaching for the tissues.
Listener Patrick Taylor emailed Test Match Special telling them about his dad John who, “unlike the current England batting line-up, dug in and battled doggedly to reach 83” when he then “left the field of play”.
What followed was a letter like no other, smartly chronicling John’s life and its struggles as he grew older and with TMS an important thread through the years.
It prompted the TMS team to share the clip online, with commentary box footage, and captions “It’s more than just a game” and “Sometimes we get messages that are more important than anything that happens out in the middle”.
Patrick’s letter bowled fans over with cricketing analogies about his father’s life, explaining how his dad had built gradually to his 50s before there was some “unexpected cloud cover” just as he was about to enter retirement.
John, a pharmacist and father of two, had been dealt “a beamer in the form of leukaemia, the yorker of muscular dystrophy, the googly of Parkinson’s, the reverse swing of diabetes, and latterly was struck down by the vicious bouncer of dementia”.
Despite the bad hand, the Yorkshireman “squeezed every last drop out of life”, his son wrote.
And it was TMS which gave Patrick one final moment with his dad.
Although doctors said John might not regain consciousness after a bad chest infection had seen him rushed to hospital on August 9, when Patrick turned on TMS he woke up.
It afforded Patrick the opportunity to tell his dad he was loved and a “wonderful father” and share a proper goodbye.
After some 15 minutes, the instruction was to “listen to the cricket” with Chris Woakes making his maiden Test century at Lord’s.
John Taylor died just after England secured victory at the home of cricket last Sunday.
The considered letter generated a mass of praise for Patrick and the wider TMS family, with others sharing how the show has been a source of comfort for them too.
The reading, during England’s Test against India at Trent Bridge, had other listeners reaching for the tissues and praising Aggers for keeping his cool with the delivery.
Agnew later posted on Twitter that he delivered it “blind”, meaning he hadn’t read the whole thing before he read it out.
Here’s Patrick’s letter in full.