Bradley Stoke father pens book in memory of footballer son

Photo of Clive Hiscox at the Trust Ground with a copy of the book he has written.

A grieving dad has written a book about the life of his deceased son, in the hope that he can be remembered for “the colourful character that he was” rather than for the tragic accident which led to his death.

Clive Hiscox’s self-published book was released on 4th August, more than two years after his son Ben died after striking his head on the clubhouse wall during a match at the Trust Ground in North Road, Stoke Gifford.

Although Ben had been raised at the Hiscox family home in Bradley Stoke, he had developed strong ties with the community of Stoke Gifford, initially (as a child) through helping to collect glasses at the former Parkway Tavern and later as a player with the local football team and drinker in the local pubs. As a result, he was well known and liked by people of all ages in “the village”.

Ben Hiscox celebrates scoring a goal for Manor Farm in the FA Cup.

Ben began playing for Stoke Gifford at the age of 16, and went on to play for Bristol Manor Farm in a higher league for a number of years, but went back to playing for Stoke Gifford United to be with his friends.

Hundreds attended Ben’s funeral, held at Westerleigh Crematorium on 15th April 2015. Following the service, everyone was invited to join the family at The Beaufort Arms in Stoke Gifford, where a crowd of well-wishers spilled out onto the pavement along North Road.

Later that year, an apple blossom tree was planted in Ben’s memory on Stoke Gifford’s village green, along with an inscribed wooden bench.

Explaining his motivation for writing the book, Clive says: “I felt I had to re-live many wonderful times spent in the company of such a lovable character, times I now consider precious. The fact that so many others came forward to share their own memories convinced me to write this book.”

He describes his book as “a true, honest, modern tale of an everyday family striving to enjoy and make the most out of life” and says his aim was to illustrate “how a fun-loving, life-loving individual was able to win the hearts of so many”.

“Lots of people will have read the ‘tragic freak accident’ news headlines, but if they read this book, they will realise just what a colourful character Ben was, which will go some way to erasing that label.”

Clive says his book has received many positive reviews since it was launched, including some written by people who didn’t know Ben, which he says is “very humbling”.

On the recommendation of the coroner, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, adjustments have been made to the layout of the Trust Ground since Ben’s accident, allowing the football pitch to be shifted several metres further away from the clubhouse. Additionally, on match days, the clubhouse wall will in future be fitted with sheets of temporary padding.

The changes at the ground have cost more than £6,000, a sum to which Clive and his daughter Rachel have contributed through sponsored participation in the Bristol 10k Run.

Clive is keen to emphasise that he and his family are “100 percent behind” Stoke Gifford FC and that they have never wanted to see football stopped at the Trust Ground.

It is the family’s wish that the football facilities at the Trust Ground site should be officially named the Ben Hiscox Memorial Ground and Clive says they have received positive feedback on this suggestion from the trust committee.

The first game to be played on the pitch since Ben’s accident is due to be take place on Saturday 2nd September and the Hiscox family is planning to be present to show their support for the club.

Copies of Clive’s book ‘Our Ben and Us’, priced at £8, can be purchased from The Beaufort Arms in Stoke Gifford. It may also be ordered via Clive’s website at a cost of £9.99 (including post and packing).

Funeral of Ben Hiscox at Westerleigh Crematorium.

Photos: 1 Clive Hiscox at the Trust Ground with a copy of his book ‘Ben and Us’. 2 Ben Hiscox celebrates scoring a goal for Manor Farm in the FA Cup. 3 Funeral of Ben Hiscox at Westerleigh Crematorium.

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 12 & 13). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Postscript (4th September 2017)

Minute’s applause for Ben Hiscox as Stoke Gifford play first ‘home’ fixture since his death (Bristol Post)

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