Tributes paid to cricketer

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Tributes have been paid following the death of a popular and respected figure in local cricket.

Barry Prentice, of Birstall Park Court, Birstall, died in Dewsbury Hospital on October 13 – his 76th birthday.

Paul McFarlane, who served alongside Mr Prentice on the Wakefield branch committee of the Yorkshire Cricket Board, said: “I am truly shocked. He was a great guy and a great friend and colleague, both as an umpire and administrator.”

Mr Prentice had a long association as a player and committee member with the now-defunct Woodkirk cricket club in the Dewsbury and District Cricket League and played there into his 40s. He was also League secretary.

He moved into umpiring with the Central Yorkshire League’s Umpires’ Association, with whom he also served as a committee member and child welfare officer.

A former chairman of the League’s Grounds sub-committee, his proudest moments in umpiring came when he he stood in in the finals of both the League’s Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy and the Heavy Woollen Cup.

His three sons – John, 49, Gary, 41, and the late Carl, who died 13 years ago aged 38 – followed him into league cricket and his widow Brenda, 78, helped prepare and serve teas at Woodkirk. His granddaughter Abigail, 14, is also a keen cricketer.

Son John said: “Dad will be greatly missed. He loved his cricket but his family always came first. He was a big bear of a man with a soft centre who would have done anything for anyone – and often did.”

Born and raised in Dewsbury, Mr Prentice completed his National Service with the RAF as a Senior Aircraftman.

After marrying in 1961 – he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding three years ago – he returned to civilian life as a mechanic.He later also worked as an insurance salesman and as a driver and route planner for the former Kalon paint company in Birstall.

His funeral took place last Thursday at Dewsbury Crematorium.

He also leaves another three grandchildren, a step granddaughter and a step great grandson.