‘Cricket was Peter’s passion’

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Cricket Club has lost one of its best-known and most vociferous supporters following the death of Peter Cooke.

Mr Cooke, who was approaching his 70th birthday, died after being diagnosed with cancer.

A retired policeman with nearly 26 years’ service to his name in the Devon and Cornwall constabulary, Mr Cooke took news of his terminal diagnosis last month stoically.

He put his affairs in order, settled arrangements for his own funeral and one of the last things he did was ring old friends to make sure they knew the details.

“It isn’t the sort of call you get very often, but Peter was that sort of person,” said Peter Anderson, who lives in Beer and served in the police with Mr Cooke during the 1970s and early 1980s. “He was a very conscientious policeman and a very keen cricketer.”

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Cricket was his passion, one he shared with anyone in the clubhouse who would listen and a few who could not help hearing.

“Cooke was never afraid to offer his occasionally controversial and inevitably strident views on cricket, whether they were needed or not,” said Mike Dibble, a fellow Sidmouth Cricket Club member.

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“The conversation was always lively and seldom dull when he chipped in.”

Mr Cooke was born on the Isle of Wight in 1947. He studied French at the University of Exeter between 1965 and 1969 and played in the 1st XI for three seasons. It was while studying in the city he met wife-to-be Jill, who was a classics student there.

Mr Cooke’s career in the police took him to Okehampton, Plymouth, Axminster and finally Exeter, when he retired with the rank of inspector. He then worked as an assistant in Potbury’s auction rooms.

He played cricket wherever he went, finishing with two seasons at Sidmouth before he retired in 1985.

After a break from the game, Mr Cooke got involved in umpiring, scoring and administering team affairs at the club.

He worked on the ground and took pride in maintaining the 3rd XI ground at Bicton College, a job that fulfilled a lifelong ambition.

“For my dad it was a dream come true as he had always wanted his own cricket ground - and Bicton became it,” said son Matt, a member of the Sidmouth 1st XI.

Peter Cooke is survived by his wife of 45 years and only son, Matt. His funeral will take place at the East Devon Crematorium in Whimple at 2.30pm on Thursday, March 30.

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