Tributes to brave Sidmouth cricketer Mark

Family man lost 10-year fight against cancer

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Sidmouth cricketer and family man who died after a 10-year battle with cancer, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Dad and husband Mark Jasper, 43, was described as a “true stalwart” at the Fort Field who put up an “incredibly brave” fight against his illness.

What Mark believed to be a harmless mole turned into a malignant form of skin cancer that spread throughout his body.

Doctors told him he had between six and 12 months to live in 2009, but numerous experimental treatments in this country and the United States, helped Mark defy the cancer for more than two-and-a-half years.

Mark, who lived in Budleigh Salterton, is survived by wife Karen and young son Max.

In an interview with the Sidmouth Herald in May 2010, Mark said: “It is worse for Max and Karen than it is for me. When I die it is all over for me, but they have to carry on having lost a husband and father.

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“If I can hang on in there for another 12 months that is time together we probably wouldn’t have had, according to the doctors.”

Mark played cricket regularly for Sidmouth from 2007 to August 2011 when illness forced him to give up the game. His condition deteriorated before Christmas - shortly after Sidmouth’s annual awards night when he was named 2nd XI Bowler of the Year.

Mark was being cared for at Budleigh Salterton Cottage Hospital when he died.

Sidmouth Cricket Club chairman Mike Dibble led the tributes to a man he described as a “true stalwart”.

“Mark put up an incredibly brave fight and it bought him some extra years with his wife and son,” said Mr Dibble.

“His death is a huge shame for everyone who knew him and he will be deeply missed.”

Former Herald editor John Goodwin, a former teammate and friend of Mark’s, said: “He was one of the best bowlers I ever kept wicket to and a top bloke with it.”

“When, one Easter half a dozen years ago, he walked by the Fort Field and enquired about playing for the club, I didn’t realise what a jewel was before me.

“A couple of months later he was hitting the seam at a lively pace and confounding batsmen… and me!

“A measure of the man is that almost three years ago he was told he had six months to live, yet gave his all over two more seasons while confronting his illness.”

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