TRIBUTES have been paid this week to Ledbury's Mr Cricket, Geoff Fletcher, who died last week after a short illness, but with his legacy secure.

One of his last acts for his beloved Ledbury Cricket Club was to prepare the wicket at the club's new ground, off Orlham Lane.

And Mr Fletcher has been praised for preparing, over so many years, what have been called "the finest cricket pitches in the county".

A spokesman for Ledbury Cricket Club said: " It is with great sadness that Ledbury Cricket Club has to report the passing of Geoffrey Fletcher who died last week, aged 78, following a short illness.

"Geoff had been a cornerstone of the club of the past forty years: first as player, later as both Secretary and Treasurer but predominantly as groundsman at both the ground behind the Full Pitcher Pub and more recently the club’s new ground at Orlham Lane."

The spokesman added: "The club are indebted to Geoff for the countless hours of dedication that went into preparing the finest cricket pitches in the county for generations of players to enjoy.

"Beyond this he was the club’s greatest supporter, an inspiration and mentor to all young cricketers who played the game whilst always showing the highest levels of respect to his fellow club members and opposing players."

Mr Fletcher was instrumental in seeking a permanent base for his club which, for many years, played on rented ground behind the Full Pitcher pub.

His dream finally came true this summer, when the new ground opened.

The club spokesman said: "It was always Geoff’s dream to see the club housed at its own permanent ground and this dream came true earlier this summer with the move to Orlham Lane.

"The club is indebted to Geoff for helping them achieve this move with his dedication, commitment and skill in ensuring the newly laid wickets were ready ahead of time.

He leaves a huge gap in the club and the lives of all the members. He leaves a lasting legacy which will never be forgotten."

The spokesman said: "Both the family and Ledbury Cricket Club have been over-whelmed by the outpouring of tributes which have been received celebrating Geoff’s life and a thanksgiving service will be held at St Michaels and All Angels Church at 2.30 pm on Monday September 4 and afterwards at the Orlham Lane ground.

"The thanksgiving is a celebration of Geoff’s life and the family has therefore asked that those attending do not wear black."