Guardian writer Frank Keating cut his teeth on the Stroud News

John Light pays tribute to the late Frank Keating

Frank Keating started his writing career on the Stroud News

SNJ columnist John Light pays tribute to Fran Keating

First published in Sport by

                                  Frank Keating 1937-2013

Stroud News, Punch, Spectator, New Statesman, Guardian and Observer

WHAT a tremendous journey, starting outside Woolworths, catching the bus to the Cheltenham Cricket Festival or rugby at Kingsholm or football at Swindon.

These schoolboy excursions were followed by a few runs for Stroud Stragglers and rugby for Cainscross. Though born in Hereford Frank was a true child of the Five Valleys.

Giving up estate agency at the age of 19, Frank joined the staff of the Stroud News.

One of his first jobs was pedalling up to Miserden to interview Pat Smythe. Despite flirting with television, journalism was where Frank excelled.

He travelled the world, taking in Olympics, football and rugby as well as bowling and majoring in cricket, but he was so much more than a results man. For Frank the game and its characters were the most important, and through his writing all came alive.

Sporting values, the joy of spectating, the value of companionship, joy, hope and excitement shone through. Writing with a generosity of spirit Frank has given all of us some wonderful memories. His early Kingsholm heroes and his early cricketing ones were ours as well. His writing enable them to glow in our memory.

The sports editor and I, when I began to write for this paper had conversations with Frank. They were warm supportive and even envious. "You could not be writing about a better area," he said. "Keep the spirit going. I wish I was with you." You always have been Frank.

                                                                                            John Light

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