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Cricket fan tracks down Bairstow to gift him gloves signed by dead father

Related Story: Alleged clash with Bancroft just players 'having a laugh', Bairstow says

Thirty-nine years ago, a young boy called Andrew Johns won a pair of kids' wicketkeeping gloves signed by England's David Bairstow.

On day three at Adelaide Oval, Mr Johns was lucky enough to catch up with Bairstow's son, Jonny, and gifted him his precious keepsake in a moment that lit up the England man's Test.

Speaking to Grandstand, Mr Johns told of the lucky circumstances that led to their meeting.

"I've had them for 39 years … my mum and dad took me to West Lakes shopping centre [in Adelaide] and the English cricket team were there to meet," he said.

"They had a little quiz — they asked who the reserve wicketkeeper was for England and I shot my hand up, and said David Bairstow, and they gave them a pair of gloves and he signed them.

"I've had them sitting in a box for the last 39 years."

Andrew Johns talking to Grandstand

Mr Johns said he had always followed David Bairstow because he had his gloves and autograph.

Bairstow Sr took his own life when his son was eight years old.

Mr Johns — who was born in England before his family moved to Australia in 1966 — said he had always vowed that if Jonny Bairstow ever came to Adelaide he would try to make contact — but when he looked up Instagram and saw the England 'keeper had 100,000 followers, he had little expectation of a response to his message.

External Link: Interview Andrew Johns

"I got a message back that night saying, 'It would be nice to meet you', from his management or whatever," Mr Johns said.

"I went to bed, woke up at 6:00am, I had a message saying: 'I'd love to meet you, I'm staying just across from the ground'.

"I came in, I brought [the gloves] with me. I was early, quite excited to meet him, and sent him a message saying: 'I'm here'.

"He came out two minutes later, and we had a good half an hour, 45 minutes together which was wonderful.

"He was quite emotional to receive the gloves, it was really lovely.

"I just lost my father this year in June — he was 83, but had a great life — and I know if someone gave something to me that belonged to my father I'd want it, and that's what I wanted to do for Jonny."

Bairstow emotional over unique gift

An emotional Bairstow told ABC before play began of how much the "fantastic gesture" meant to him.

Jonny Bairstow trains at Adelaide Oval

"It's something that is always very special. I've been fortunate enough to go all over the world, and all over the world people have some fond stories of Dad."

Bairstow has been in the spotlight after a headbutting incident in a Perth bar with Australian Cameron Bancroft, but Johns had nothing but praise for the Englishman.

"He's a ripping bloke. My dad used to say if you ever meet a Yorkshireman he's as close to an Australian as you'll get, down to earth with a laugh and a beer and tell you how it is, and he's exactly all of those."

Original Article

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