Driffield News

Tributes to local sportsman, John Dosser

Driffield lost one of its greatest and most well known characters last Thursday when John Dossor died peacefully, aged 77.

John was well known and well respected in all walks of life and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

He worked for W.E. Naylor & Son for nearly 50 years and played a huge part in local sport and helped many take up the sports within which he was involved.

He was a member of Driffield Town Cricket & Recreation Club for over 50 years, where he served on the Executive Committee, was a Past President but most of all will be remembered as Driffield Town Cricket Club Chairman for 30 years from 1976 to 2006.

Proud son Martin said: “My old man had such a passion for many things and always gave it his best, whatever it was. These include business, cricket, dominoes and rugby which were his main sports, but he also had his pastimes like going to watch international rugby and bird watching.

“I am humbled by all the wishes of support that I have received over the weekend. I would like to thank everyone who has been in touch, it is greatly appreciated at this sad time.”

As well as cricket, John was also a big part of the town’s rugby club, as well as playing other sports throughout his life.

Pam Woodcock, who was Secretary of Driffield Cricket Club throughout John’s chairmanship, said: “During his time as chairman the club went from strength to strength, from two Saturday sides to fielding five Saturday teams plus the Junior Section of the Club evolved during his time as Chairman.

“It was indeed a privilege and an honour to work alongside John at Driffield Cricket Club.  He was an ambassador both for the sport he loved and for Driffield Town Cricket Club.

“Everyone at the club, whether you played a game of snooker, cards or dominoes with John, played in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th team with him or whether you merely shared a joke, a laugh or a beer with him has a tale to tell of John

“He was instrumental in forming the last team at the club, the 5th XI where he encouraged youngsters and more importantly to ensure that he would himself get a game of cricket, with his last game coming when he was 70.

“He was a fun loving character yet  tirelessly hard working, both on and off the field. John was kind, caring, thoughtful and generous, and served our club in many ways.

“As Secretary it didn’t matter whether I rung him up to umpire an evening cup match, transport juniors to away matches, attend numerous meetings,  John would always be happy to help to ensure the smooth running of our club.

“As a successful Club, Driffield had to organise many annual league dinners and presentations at which John would always speak and act as Master of Ceremonies with such pride.

“Everyone at Driffield Cricket Club will remember John with true affection.”

John also played a big part in resurrecting the popular Have a Go cricket competition. Pam added: “He loved to encourage the non-cricketers, and indeed their supporters to the point whereby he would offer to buy a  pint to any of those in the crowd if they caught a ball hit for a six.”

John, who was also President of the Driffield & District Dominoes League, organised a monthly cash dominoes knock-out tournament on Sunday evenings which is known as Doss’ Doms, and still continues to be competed for  at the Rec during the winter season.

On Saturday all Driffield sides held a minute’s silence and wore black arm bands as a sign of respect.

John joined W E Naylor & Son in 1962 and remained with the firm until he fell ill in 2010. The company gave this tribute: “John was a very loyal and trustworthy servant to the firm and to Driffield as a whole, especially the Cricket Club and Rugby Club.

“John was a very, very likeable man who gained the respect of customers and staff around him.”

“He had many circles of friends and was a member of a group known as ‘The Association’ which went away for a few years, often to Wales to go fishing, bird watching, walking or golfing.

“He worked for this company as in-house accountant and General Manager when Tony Naylor was busy with public service work at the Council.

“He will be sorely missed in many quarters.”

During his long spell with Driffield RUFC John was captain of the club in 1962/63 and 1963/64, and was also club president in 1982/83.

One of his close friends, John Taylor, said: “I met John in the late 1950s when I started playing rugby for Driffield, and Doss was already playing for the team. I ended up playing with him for over 20 years.”

“He was known as the ‘Driffield Dreadnought’ when he played because he used to tackle his opponent with his shoulder, which is illegal nowadays.

“He used to say that if the centre I’m playing against hasn’t been carried off during the game, then I’ve had a bad game.

“He was always cracking a joke and he was captain and president when I was at the club.

“I used to go to London with him regularly and we’d go to Twickenham and Wembley to watch internationals and cup finals. There was four of us who used to go every year.

“As soon as we got to the station, Doss couldn’t get on the train quick enough, because he wanted to play cards.

“Doss always knew what you had in your hand, and he’d be telling you which cards you should be playing.

“He prided himself on having a pair, which is one of the best hands, and on one of our last trips he laid his cards on the table to say he had an unbeatable hand. I told him to hang on, threw my cards on the table to show him that I had a Grand Slam. His face was a picture.”

“He was always a pretty forgetful bloke and on one of our trips down south, John was in charge of the tickets and left them in the car. I’d spotted them and picked them up but didn’t tell him. As the train pulled around the corner, I said to Doss, ‘Which coach are we on’. He checked all of his pockets and said ‘I’ll have to run back, I’ve left them in the car’. I daren’t repeat what he said when I showed him I had the tickets.”

“Another time, he left his keys on the table and again I picked them up. We were hoping to get back to Stamford Bridge in time for a pint and Doss couldn’t understand where he’d left them. I got a mouthful off him again when I got them out of my pocket.”

“He was always a good laugh and had a good word for everyone he knew. I’d say he will go down as one of Driffield’s greatest ever sportsmen. He was a first team rugby player, played a good level of cricket and was hugely into his 5s and 3s.”

“He was a groomsman at my wedding, and I was best man at his.”

John bought Taylor’s Ironmongers and the foundry in the early 1980s. He sold the foundry to Richard Hutton but demolished the remainder and built retail outlets now known as Market Walk.

The shop at the bottom on Market Place was a fruit & veg shop which John took to running for a while, going to Hull to buy fruit and veg most mornings before going to work on Queen Street.

John, who also served on Driffield Town Council for several years in the late 1970s, had a keen interest in nature, bird watching especially and would often be found feeding the fish off the bridge on Beckside at the bottom of Queen Street.

John’s funeral will be held at 2pm on Wednesday 16th September at Octon.

John’s family would like to invite everyone back to the cricket club for a drink and tell their own stories about one of Driffield’s greatest ever characters.


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