ALL young schoolboys have sporting idols.

Mine included Randolph Turpin, Roger Bannister, Bert Williams and Stirling Moss.

Locally, it was Roy Pridmore, who recently died at the age of 86.

He was a footballer for East Cowes Vics and Cowes and a superb batsman for JS Whites Cricket Club.

Any cricketer who scored centuries on three consecutive days was such an inspiration to many of us young hopefuls.

He also survived an horrendous car crash in 1958 that paralysed him from the waist downwards for the rest of his life. The way he conquered this tragedy was admired by so many people.

Roy was rather special in many ways. He had time for everyone and would encourage youngsters of varying talents.

I even had the thrill of playing in the same cricket team as him for a short while. That JS Whites team were superbly led by former Hampshire all-rounder Gerry Hill.

History was made in August 1957.

Roy flew home to the Island from RAF duty in Germany for a short holiday. Keen to continue his batting skills with JS Whites, that had already been noted by Hampshire CCC, he scored 100 not out against Gosport Amateurs on August 5.

The following day he made 101 against Portsmouth Bohemians and to complete an incredible hat-trick the next day he hit 102 against Bath Civil Service.

Roy was an accomplished soccer player and it all began at Barton Boys School.

In those days he played as a centre forward but later he became a brilliant centre half for Sandown, East Cowes Vics and Cowes.

He played in a national cup final for Hampshire Youth. In the RAF he played in a team laced with professionals from league clubs.

His life changed forever on November 17, 1958. It was his 24th birthday.

He'd played football at Winchester in the afternoon and then in the evening took his girlfriend, Shirley, and two friends to a dance at the Ventnor Winter Gardens.

On the way home from dropping her off in Ryde, Roy had a terrible accident and was lucky to survive. He could never remember what happened.

The horrific injuries meant he spent around nine months away from the Island. A born fighter, Roy pulled through.

When he eventually came around from his injuries in Stoke Mandeville the first thing he heard was a cricket commentary from Australia on the radio.

He got to know the sound of Shirley's footsteps which instantly cheered him up.

He made one visit home to attend a football match played in his honour between deadly rivals Newport and Cowes.

A bumper crowd attended and money was raised for him.

Roy was determined to make the most of his life and he went back to work in the offices of JS Whites, once his three-wheel car was ready. He also married Shirley in 1960.

He was made redundant in 1966 but thanks to Bruce Charman he took a job at Whitecroft Hospital and his love for sport took over again.

As football secretary he helped revitalise the club and he eventually helped reform their cricket team.

Roy was also responsible for getting the IW Knock-Out Cup competition into Island cricket.

He eventually left Whitecroft Hospital for promotion to St Mary's and stayed until he retired at 58.

Roy built beautiful dolls houses and even did his home decorating from his wheelchair.

Inspirational men like Roy Pridmore don't come along very often. I feel honoured to have been a friend of a schoolboy hero.

Back in 1956 he played football for East Cowes Vics against Winchester City Reserves.

I was at the game and Terry Paine, later of Saints and England fame, was in the visitors line-up.

I was thrilled to get them together again a few years later.