Today would have been my grandad’s 91st birthday. Like a lot of guys of his generation, he didn’t like to celebrate it, but now that he is gone it’s a day I always recognise, and I try to take the time to remember the good times that we shared.
Today is also the day that snooker legend Willie Thorne died. He was 66 years old.
It’s not a name that will mean anything to a lot of people but as a long-time snooker fan, I found myself very saddened by his departure this morning. I am old enough to have watched him while he was still an active player, but too young to have seen him in his heyday. Coincidentally, snooker was a sport that I always enjoyed watching with my grandad. In fact, Willie Thorne was one of his favourites.
Willie Thorne honed his craft in the eighties – in an era when snooker was exploding in the mainstream, and there were a lot of larger-than-life personalities in the game, from Jimmy White to Dennis Taylor to Alex Higgins, and many others. Chas & Dave even reached the UK Top Ten with their song, Snooker Loopy in 1986 – that’s how big the game was in those days.
Although he would not be in the conversation as one of the sport’s all-time greats, with his polished head and thick moustache Willie Thorne was certainly one of snooker’s biggest and most recognisable characters, and he will surely be missed.
Now old Willie Thorne, his hair’s all gone, and his mates all take the rise
His opponent said, “cover up his head cos it’s shining in my eyes”
When the light shines down, on his bare crown
It’s a cert he’s gonna walk it
It’s just not fair, giving off that glare
“Perhaps I ought to chalk it”