TRIBUTES have been paid to well-known local cricketer John Shepherd.

Shep, as he was affectionately known, died unexpectedly earlier this month at the age of 83.

His son Peter said: "John was a very keen sportsman. He played for Birlingham and the Fossils for over 50 years, and during this this time he also coached youngsters who wanted to get involved in the game.

"In his career he did the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets, he won the 'Green Un' award for his batting three years running – then won the bowling award three years running. There was no stopping him!"

John also represented Worcestershire Cricket Club at the over-50, 60 and 70s levels.

John 's early work life saw him driving tanks in the Army. He left that job and became a self-employed builder – a job he kept all his life.

One of his many accomplishments was to build the pavilion at Birlingham Cricket Club, which later was named after him in his honour.

John also was a keen footballer playing for Pershore Old Boys, Pershore United, and Pinvin United. He played until he was 46, and this after being told that breaking his ankle in the Army meant that he would never play again!

John had a love of darts which he played well into his late 70s, playing at his local, the Coach and Horses in Pinvin.

Tributes have been pouring in for the Birlingham legend

Peter said: "John was a man much loved by many."

Others added their tributes. Birlingham CC member Martyn Webb said on Twitter: "A legend and stalwart has passed away. He helped shaped the club (Birlingham CC) for what it is today. A brilliant batsman and bowler loved by many. We went out to win for you today, Shep, RIP."

Cragger Sheward added: "RIP Shep, a truly great cricketer. He scored some great runs and I was lucky enough to play in a 600-run match on a Sunday where he and I both scored big tons. A Birlingham legend."

Roger Weston added: "RIP. Top guy," Gavin Spares adding that these are "sad times".

The Birlingham Twitter account said simply: "It was a joy to watch him still thumping the ball to the ropes in his 70s."


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