FOOTBALLERS and cricketers in the county are mourning the early loss of one of their number.

Paul Ledbury, who featured strongly for several county clubs, especially in the Ledbury area, has died at the age of 51.

“Paul was a very good cricketer,” recalled his cousin, the former Hereford United player Steve Emery.

“He was a good all-rounder and played at both Ledbury and Eastnor.

“And football was in his genes - his dad was going to sign for Chelsea when he was 16 but, at the medical, they discovered he had arthritis.”

Paul’s football career saw him play for both Worcester City and Gloucester City but he also made a strong impact with Ledbury Town before signing for Pegasus Juniors and becoming a vital part of one of the city side’s most successful eras.

“Paul was one of three players who signed for us from Ledbury,” recalled Dave Llewellyn, who was Juniors joint-manager with Clive Trenchard at the time of Ledbury’s arrival.

“The others were Chris Burton and Bryan Bouston.”

He added: “Paul played in midfield alongside Ian Rodgerson and Gavin Price and they were a formidable unit together - Ian and Gavin were ball players and Paul provided the balance.

“He had great commitment and was always thinking about the game; he would often come up with an alternative when we were working out our set-pieces.

“He had three seasons with Pegasus and it was a purple patch for the club, a really halcyon time - we won the league, the county cup and the Worcester Cup.”

Paul Ledbury’s funeral service will take place at St Michael and All Angels Church in Ledbury at noon on Tuesday.