The Bob Willis Trophy is based on a painting Lauren did of Bob during lockdown
Sunday 27 September 2020 19:03, UK
Bob Willis would have been "stunned" to see counties competing for a trophy named in his honour and delighted with the tournament's success, says his wife Lauren Clark.
All 18 counties played in the Bob Willis Trophy this summer, with the shortened competition replacing the County Championship for one season only due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Willis, who passed away from prostate cancer last year at the age of 70, was a strong advocate of a Lord's final closing out the first-class season.
"Bob would be stunned. He spent a lot of time trying to sex up the County Championship so he would be really pleased with it," said Clark.
"As far as I am aware [the decision to name a trophy after Bob] was to do with Sir Ian Botham and Tim Bostock at Durham who put the idea to the ECB. Everybody thought it was a great idea to get cricket played."
The trophy, created by jeweller Edward Asprey, is based on a picture of Bob painted by Lauren during lockdown earlier this year.
"During lockdown I was struggling on my own without Bob," she said. "I had done A Level art in 1986 and I thought 'I'm going to get some supplies and see if I can paint anything'.
"I looked up some picture of Bob's iconic action and through I'd try a cubist version of that. People said it was quite good and I have done about 14 pictures since lockdown.
"Edward Asprey, who made the trophy, saw my picture and thought it would be a good design for it and I think it is. I think it looks really beautiful."
As part of the final, which came nine months after Bob died from prostate cancer, the cricket network joined forces with Prostate Cancer UK to raise awareness and support for the charity and the significant work it does.
Fans can donate £10 to Prostate Cancer UK by texting BOB to 70004.
Clark added: "It is a charity close to my heart because Bob sadly died of prostate cancer. It is a deadly disease that needs to be taken seriously.
"It is the No 1 diagnosed cancer in the UK - it has overtaken breast cancer - and a lot of people don't know what a prostate is or what it does."
Prostate cancer will affect one in eight men in the UK at some point in their lives, with that statistic rising to one in four for black men.
This month, Prostate Cancer UK launched a new online risk checker, where men and their families can find out if they are at increased risk of the disease and what steps they can take. The checker is on the Prostate Cancer UK website: www.prostatecanceruk.org