It is with considerable sadness that we report the death of one of the most colourful characters in the history of club cricket, Robert Bairamian, the former Head master of Holmewood House, Aberdour and Claremont. He was 83.

Bob, as he was universally known, the self-appointed Armenian Ambassador and Hon. Commander-in-Chief of the Armenian Cavalry, was an ever-present in Kent and Sussex cricket for over 60 years, representing a variety of clubs including Bluemantle’s, Band of Brothers, Stragglers of Asia, Invalids, MCC and Kent 2nd XI. He was a highly competitive allrounder, scoring thousands of runs and playing two first class games whilst at Cambridge. His erstwhile father in law, Tom Crawford, also played for Kent with distinction, later becoming club President, and it was he who made Bob’s sons, Rupert and Justin, life members on the day they were born.

Following schooling at Dover College and Cambridge, packed off by his father, Sir Vahé Bairamian, the Lord Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Bob’s career as a headmaster was never dull, inspiring many thousands of children from all over the world, building lasting friendships with them and reveling in their successes. His enthusiasm matched theirs, and his boundless energy imbued a loyalty that is remembered by his charges and staff alike.

Bluemantle week became more than a cricket festival under Bob’s inimitable leadership. Full blown lunch parties, evening drinks, pre-match visits to various local pubs and the inevitable response to the question of lunch…..”the woman is cooking pig” and then “are you getting enough?” made the week an unmissable fixture in both the sports and social diaries. His nicknames for his players, often shouted from the top row of pavilion, were highly imaginative; Toby Poesrcott-Edgerton became The Power Driven Hedgecutter; The Cloke twins, Cloak and Dagger. The list goes on and on.

Over the years many restaurants and hostelries were tried, some with more success than others. True to character, Bob would befriend the more like-minded restaurateurs, most of whom were delighted to see him and his band of merry men clad in whites, as they knew they were in for a good night with the till ringing and an increase in decibels that betrayed the usually sedate surroundings for the other 51 weeks of the year. A favourite was The Giggling Squid, which, of course, became known as the Bluemantle Thai. There would very rarely be an evening where Bob would not insist on high jinks somewhere, often driven by trusty friends such as the late James Wesson or Rex Roberts (rarely out of second gear). Many an Old Amplefordian, Moose or Straggler felt the effects of a night out with Bob, but no one had more stamina or enthusiasm for the next day’s game than he.

A fuller obituary will appear in time, but in recording the death of one of life’s real characters, Bluemtantle’s CC bids farewell to its Imperator, the unique Headmaster, Bob.

The service of thanksgiving is at St John the Baptist, Penshurst on Friday 28th September at 2 pm.

4 thoughts on “ROBERT BAIRAMIAN MA (Cantab)

  1. Yes very fond memories of Bob ringing my father in 1963/4/5 to play at the Neville.In those days it was a long drive from Canterbury but father never said no–he was extremely persuasive!! We had some memorable games in the Week.
    My one memory was of always wielding his shoulderless Gray Nicholls bat to great effect. He played hard but fun and enjoyment
    was paramount
    Richard Finn

  2. I first met Bob playing for junior BMs in 1952. He was wearing an army officer’s great coat and was banging on about the Hussars. I didn’t believe a word he said, but was highly entertained.. We were complete opposites glued together by a love of cricket and huge mutual respect.
    I saw my job as an opening bat to make the bowling look undemanding. Bob, on the other hand, devised his own marvellous initial technique, even on the flattest of tracks, of making every ball look lethal and often being hit on the gloves, followed by much gesturing of pain. Having now removed all the boundary fielders, he swept and drove to his heart’s content before the they realised what was happening.
    He didn’t actually do pain. Cartilage trouble caused us to remove him from the field on occasion in a wheel barrow. After one operation in hospital, he asked me to adjust a pillow from under his foot. I dropped his leg back on the bed, gently by my standards, and he almost hit the roof. Sorry old boy!
    Whatever else one may say or think about Bob, he was the most wonderfully gifted teacher. He started, of course from a position of having an innately genuine rapport with all his charges. When he was an assistant master at Holmwood, I stayed with him during the Nevill week. From 10 to11.00 he would pay for the day’s cricket (and the evening’s Murghi Marsalarm in the Pantiles) by extra Latin coaching. I’d be reading the cricket scores in the Telegraph only to find, for the first time in my life, that Latin is the easiest language in the world.
    Not many people could have met the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with one ounce of the resilience he showed, even though some were delivered by his own hand. He might have had a hockey blue, possibly even a cricket blue, the loss of several delightful wives, countless financial vicissitudes: they were all met with relentless equanimity.
    If all we can do in our own life is influence the lives of those around us for the better, then gosh! What a legacy he leaves.

  3. I only came across this cricketing gent on a few occasions, but he and his son Rupert are/ were a delightful pair. Sadly my loss was that I lived to too far west, but Cricket has lost a colossus, If I can find someone to share the driving I will be at Penshurst on the 28th, now at 80 I need a little support for the longer journeys, if anyone is near Hampshire my number is 01329 834457 and I am Chris Bazalgette. If I fail I wish the day a very special one and my glass will toast appropriately – God Bless Bob,

  4. I was part of the Invincible 1st X1 Cricket Team of 1962,as an opening Batsman, which achieved a record of Playing 17, Winning 16 and Drawing 1.

    Bob’s inspiration to me knew no bounds, which i carried on as an opening Bat for Wadhurst CC and the Sussex Martlets.

    I have, to hand, three small wooden Cricket bats presented as the Season went on to the players…One for my First Eleven Colours, another for scoring 50 not out in a match, but the other which is signed by all the team players for that Season. Nicky Roche (Capt), Sohail Ahmed, Harry Summers, Dapo Ladimeji, ‘Judge’ Ollennu, David Gallyer, Michael Venus, A Clemson, H Greaves, A Hillyer, J Munn and myself. (apologies for initials only on some names!). We were SO strong that Michael Venus, our wicket keeper only went out to bat in the last match of the Season, but to our relief, didn’t face a ball!!

    I still have my final School Report in which he says..’Cricketer, Marksman. (Rifle shooting). A great show ‘Plumlum’.

    I am desperately sorry that we never had that lunch that he hoped we would, as i owe him so much

    RIP. Dear Bob

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