CLUB cricketers have been saddened by the death of former South Wilts president Alan Eyres, aged 88.

Eyres, who was a leading figure in the Wiltshire umpiring world for many years, suffered a short illness and died on Friday.

Educated locally at Bishop Wordsworth’s and then Oxford, where he read chemistry, Eyres was president at South Wilts between 2004 and 2011, writes Mike Vimpany.

A founder member of South Wilts junior section in 1954, he held numerous committee positions with the Bemerton club .

“Alan was hugely instrumental in the Salisbury and South Wilts pavilion and clubhouse project and raised money for it,” recalled former South Wilts captain James Hayward.

“He worked overseas after his Oxford days, but once he moved back into Salisbury he devoted so much of his time to the club and to the county.

“Never a Saturday went by we’d be batting or fielding and wouldn’t see Alan walking around the boundary with his collection box.

“He was such a nice guy that you could never say no and everyone he approached dug deep into their pockets to produce some pound coins to drop into the box.

“That dedication and passion is something you simply cannot replace. The club will be a poorer place without him.”

He was a prominent member of the Wiltshire Association of Cricket Umpires and was a thoroughly respected official for well over 30 years.

Eyres’ life will be celebrated at Salisbury Crematorium on Thursday, April 27 (10.15am), followed by a gathering at South Wilts cricket club.

Family flowers only but, if wished, donations to either South Wilts CC or the Salisbury Hospice.