TO NO man falls the honour of reading his own obituary (barring, of course, any premature announcement), while there is no guarantee of favourable appraisement.
But how one wishes that Dave Callaghan, the BBC Radio Leeds cricket commentator, could see the torrent of tributes that have poured in for him since his death last Monday, at 63, following a heart attack.
Were that possible, “DC”, or “Cally”, as he was affectionately known, could have been in no doubt as to the unanimous esteem in which he was held, with everyone ranging from international cricketers to the humblest spectator uniting in profound grief at the loss of one of the game’s greatest supporters and, most importantly, one of life’s greatest gentlemen.
Indeed, it is difficult to think of anyone connected with the vast institution of Yorkshire County Cricket Club – including its most celebrated players, past and present – who was more well-liked and respected than the “voice of Yorkshire cricket”, a voice now stilled but not forgotten by those for whom it was the soundtrack to more than 30 summers.
Mr Callaghan’s qualities – much like the moving tributes to him – would take several pages to list in anything approaching definitive detail.
They can be roughly summarised as follows: he was a great family man to Pat, his widow, and their circle of relatives; he was a true friend to so many (including the former Australia fast bowler and Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who came to regard him as a second father when his own sadly died); he was a much-loved colleague with unfailing encouragement to anyone hoping to one day follow in his broadcasting footsteps; and, above all, he possessed a selflessness and generosity of spirit that touched everyone with whom he came into contact.
Indeed, this has been the prevailing theme of all the tributes paid to DC – that no nicer man could one have wished to meet: an overused cliché, perhaps, but one which, in this case, risks only the charge of gross understatement.
Born in Manchester, for which his Yorkshire friends instantly forgave him, Mr Callaghan enjoyed two spells covering Yorkshire, while he also reported on Leeds United Football Club with great distinction in the Howard Wilkinson years and served for a time as director of communications for the Rugby Football League.
Whatever the sport, his enthusiasm was palpable, his professionalism consummate; like the players themselves, he made a difficult job look deceptively easy.
Away from the microphone, DC was always sociable and never happier than when relaxing in the company of friends.
He lived life to the full and a beaming, infectious smile was never far from his face – not even in the midst of terrible tragedy, when he lost a daughter to illness and bore it with a fortitude that few could imagine, let alone summon.
If the measure of a man’s life lies in the tone of the tributes paid to him, then Mr Callaghan was a very great man.