Sad loss to Sidmouth cricket

CRICKET in Devon has lost one of its most enthusiastic supporters following the death of John Wadsworth, 73, after a two-year battle against cancer, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

He was a familiar figure on the Devon umpiring circuit from 1999 until he was taken ill.

Wadsworth had given up competitive umpiring after a triple heart bypass the week after his 70th birthday, but carried on officiating matches involving Sidmouth U15s and the club’s ladies’ team until last season.

Wadsworth organised his life around cricket to leave maximum time for working on the square. In 2003 the Wadsworths retired to Devon permanently, allowing John to throw himself fully into the activities of the old Devon Umpire and Scorers Society, for which he became the appointments officer.

He and his wife, Di, moved around East Devon to Axminster,Honiton and Whimple before settling in Sidmouth two years ago.

“It was where we really wanted to be so we sold up and moved one more time,” said Di, who looks after the 2nd XI scorebook.

Away from cricket John Wadsworth was a keen sports fan, following the fortunes of Hull City FC as well as both codes of rugby.

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“Although John was born in Nottinghamshire he moved to Hull when he was very young and always regarded himself as a proud Yorkshireman,” recalled Di.

“He sold programmes at the football ground in Hull as a lad and remained a supporter through thick and thin.”

Away from sport Wadsworth was an enthusiast for English Literature and history. He also spoke French and German – and claimed Viking ancestry!

“His great-great-great-grandfather was the German consul in Hull and John always claimed Viking blood,” said Di.

“Over the year he had six operations on his hands for a condition only known in the Nordic races which proved his theory, although you only had to look at him to see he was a Viking!”

John Wadsworth had three children from his first marriage, who provided him with nine grandchildren.

A private cremation will be held on Friday, December 9, followed by a service of thanks giving at Sidmouth Parish Church the same day at 2.45pm. A cream tea reception will be held in Sidmouth cricket pavilion after the service. All welcome.

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