Full name: Charles Beachey Beachcroft (Kay-)
Other name(s): Charles Beachey Kay, Jack Trent
Born: 1870 in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, Great Britain
Died: 1928 in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Affiliations: Devon & Somerset Wanderers, Castle Cary (GBR)
Country: Great Britain
Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)
Charles Beachcroft was the opening bat for Exeter in 1900 and he also played for a local team called Starcross. As the captain he opened the batting with Arthur Birkett against the France at the Paris Olympics and scored 23 runs in the first innings. In the second innings he scored 54 before being run out and therefore made a considerable contribution to the British win.
Beachcroft was born Charles Beachey Kay and was the son of a Manchester vicar who died when Charles was just seven. In 1896 Kay, who was married with four children, ran away from Devon to London with a 17-year-old girl, and whilst in London they lived as ‘Mr & Mrs Beachcroft’. Kay was charged with abduction but was found not guilty after he told the court he would marry the girl after he obtained his divorce. He kept to his word and later that year he married again but using the name Charles Beachey Kay Beachcroft.
After the Paris Olympic success Charles became one of the best all-round sportsmen in Devon and was a county player at cricket, hockey and rugby. He also had the distinction of introducing ping pong (table tennis) to the county. On top of that, he was an excellent shot and took part in many shooting competitions. He was also a good swimmer and served on the committee of the Exeter Swimming Club.
At the time of the Paris tournament, Beachcroft was the landlord of the Royal Hotel, Dawlish, but the business failed in 1901 when he was declared bankrupt. In 1905 he embarked on a complete change of career when he turned to the stage in the days when musical halls were at their peak and he appeared on the famous stages of the Stoll-Moss company (which was bought by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2000). Beachcroft was, amongst other things, a song writer, comedian and humourist, and pantomime villain. He worked and toured with many women over the years and he had a reputation for being a serial adulterer and he had many wives and is believed to have fathered 13 children.
He emigrated to Australia in 1921 and as Jack Trent, he entertained audiences there and also in New Zealand until his death in 1928. He continued playing cricket in Australia and in 1924, at the age of 54, he scored 57 runs for Sir Benjamin Fuller’s XI against the Vagabonds of Christchurch, New Zealand.
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