Born into a world that would not know of Nazism or the atomic bomb for several decades, Reg Dean maintained that the greatest sadness that had befallen Earth in the 110 years and 63 days he spent on it was the decline of cricket.
The former church minister, who was Britain’s oldest person, died at his home in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, on Saturday. “I’m a fan of cricket, but not in fancy dress, and not as a one-day game. I like village cricket in whites on a green grass field,” he told the Independent on Sunday in an interview to mark his 110th birthday in November. “Motor cars in their millions” was another thing he voiced his dissatisfaction over. “It shows that we are affluent, self-satisfied, important people. But we’re not.”
Born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, in 1902, Mr Dean trained as a minister and worked in Singapore and India before becoming an army chaplain in Burma during the Second World War. Of his 11 and a bit decades, he maintained his third was his favourite. “When I was 30, I was in Singapore. I was working as an assistant chaplain in the cathedral... I loved the tropics,” he said.