TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular cricket club stalwart from Chester who sent a good luck video message to the team just hours before his death.
Former Boughton Hall Cricket Club captain John Thistlewood died on Sunday after a long illness, aged 67.
Such was his dedication to the club, he sent a good luck message to the team ahead of their match against Warrington on Saturday.
The father of two from Guilden Sutton has been hailed as a true gentleman, team mentor, and legendary inspiration by loved ones and fellow players and associates at the the club in Boughton Hall Avenue, to which he dedicated 35 years of his life.
As well as playing for the club, he was also associated with a great many roles at the club and was best known for his commitment to mentoring and improving the skills of the young people at the club.
His drive and enthusiasm for the club and for the sport has been passed on to sons Ian and Richard.
Both share their father’s passion for the game, with Ian serving as the current vice captain of the third team.
Leading the tributes, Ian said: “My father was a true inspiration and very well respected.
”He was a humble, kind and generous man, who loved his family.
“He was selfless, always helping where he could.
“He was very well respected and held in great esteem. In particular he was best known for his mentoring role in helping bring on the skills of the youth at the club. He will be greatly missed.”
A number of friends have posted messages in honour of John via a condolence page on the club’s website where a message read: “It is with great sadness that our club captain and long-standing member, John Thistlewood, has passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“As many of you will be aware, John has been fearlessly fighting against a long standing illness. This never stopped him from being a superb family man and a committed club member.
“It is testament to the man that as recently as last week he came and supported the club cricket force day and sent a message via video for the team last Saturday.
We all send our condolences to his wife Anne and the rest of his family.
“He will forever be remembered as a great of the club and will be an inspiration for the players moving forward.
Dave Fisher wrote: “It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to have known John.
“He taught me everything I know as a captain running the third XI with me in 2008.
“It really wouldn’t have been possible without him. A true gentleman on and off the pitch who will be greatly missed. R.I.P John xx.”
Tom Ducker said: “I was sad to hear the news John had passed away.
“I started my senior cricketing career playing for John in Boughton Hall fourths and still have the most promising youngster trophy he awarded me.
“Such a nice man. Thoughts are with his family. RIP John.”
Tom Evans said: “ I will always remember our 200 partnership on the back pitch a few years ago whilst playing for the third XI.
“Was a great day for us both and it will always be one of my highlights of my cricketing career.
“Thanks for all your assistance while I was helping captain the third XI a few seasons ago.
“Your help at the cricket club has always been massively appreciated by everyone and you will be sorely missed.”
Mr Thistlewood ‘s funeral will take place at 10am on Monday, May 12, at the Crematorium, Blacon Avenue, Blacon, Chester, and people are welcome to celebrate his life back at the club after the service.
All are welcome, no flowers please, but donations to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford would be gratefully received.