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How Philip Ring and his family have made Lord’s their second home

Posted: 21 March 2024

Becoming a Member of MCC is a special moment for lots of reasons, but when Philip Ring became a full Member of Marylebone Cricket Club in 2010, he said it was “the most special moment in my life.”

A short time spent with Philip and you can see he is a super sports fan, with interests not just in cricket but a lover of various outdoor activities and a keen supporter of Arsenal. But it is cricket and MCC in particular where his affections lie.

Talk about his favourite players and there’s something in common about these legends of the game – Cook, Stokes and Gooch – men who have led their country with great distinction. But it is Sir Alastair Cook and mention of his name, where Philip’s eyes really light up. “He’s my favourite. I met him here at Lord’s.”

As far as records will allow, Philip is MCC’s only Member with Down’s Syndrome but one thing is for sure, very few Members of the Club will have a love of the game like him.

When Philip became a full Member in 2010, his parents, Tony and Elaine, worked with MCC to put on a special celebration in the President’s Suite to welcome their son to the Club. Essex players Cook, Grant Flower, Graham Napier and James Foster were also on hand to sprinkle some star dust to the occasion and that moment has never left Philip.

Time spent with the Ring family and their love of cricket is there for all to see. Tony became a Member in 1980 having had it suggested to him by his uncle and Elaine completed the final piece of the membership jigsaw when she became an Associate in 2004 and a full Member in January 2023.

“I loved the game from a young age,” explained Tony. “I can remember listening to it on the radio when getting ready to go to school and listening to the England v Australia tour over the winter of 1958/59. That intrigued me and the interest grew from there really.

“There was an instance where my sister and I were talking about different players, she still liked Dennis Compton though he had retired, and I liked Trevor Bailey. I then realised if I liked Trevor Bailey I had to support Essex, even though I’d never been there and for 35-years I never deliberately went there. That’s how I got interested in Essex cricket and followed it pretty avidly on a daily basis.”

It is from here that Philip’s love of Essex comes and he still follows the county game keenly but when you ask him which format he prefers, you can tell he just loves the beautiful game of cricket in general. “I love Test, County Championship, ODI, T20, The Hundred and Women’s cricket.”

The Rings have long been keen attendees of women’s matches at Lord’s and still keep an eye out for the Women’s International fixtures at Lord’s but it’s the Test fixtures that are a staple for them.

“Over the years we have got to know various people who sit close to us, and that’s part of the enjoyment of coming back each summer. Some of the people we’ve made friends with were also invited to join us when we celebrated Philip’s special day.”

Elaine Ring, a proud Yorkshire woman, remembers fondly watching cricket at Headingley and then watching Tony play for Great Missenden Cricket Club with their children Philip and daughter Melanie as spectators.

From Old Hamptonians, to the Wodehouse Society and following England round the world, the Ring Family have followed their love of cricket, and it is a support that has given them many fond memories.

“We were in New Zealand watching England,” explained Tony. “When all of a sudden Philip wasn’t with us as we waited in the hotel reception area, chatting to other tourists and waiting for a lift to take us up to our rooms. Suddenly, Elaine asked where Philip was. A mild panic ensued, but we looked round and saw him by one of the lifts having introduced himself to Ian Botham.”

“I love cricket. I love watching batting, bowling and fielding, but batting especially"

Other players have given their time generously to Philip also, with Elaine recalling an occasion when England spin bowler Adil Rashid stopped to speak with Philip and it’s moments like this that remain with Philip and his parents.

Philip’s first match of the season at Lord’s always signals the start of summer for the Ring family and brings back to the fore Philip’s love of the game. “I love cricket. I love watching batting, bowling and fielding, but batting especially.”

Which is perhaps why his favourites are batsmen of such high regard. There will be plenty on view this summer and Philip, Tony and Elaine will be happily ensconced in the Pavilion, red books safely in their pockets.

More information on World Down Syndrome Day can be seen below.

World Down Syndrome Day