TRIBUTES have been paid to the president of Stacksteads Cricket Club who has died aged 66.

Stuart Beardsworth died after suffering liver and kidney failure in Royal Blackburn Hospital on Thursday morning.

The club’s 2nd XI captain, Dougie Tattersall, said he was ‘a stalwart at the club for almost two decades’.

Having spent most of his career as a player for Oswaldtwistle Immanuel CC, he joined the Stacksteads club when he moved to his home in Gresham Street in Waterfoot 20 years ago.

Mr Beardsworth’s son, Bryan, also a former player at Stacksteads, said sport was his father’s life.

Bryan, 32, said: “He was a fantastic father and great man. Many people benefited from his words of wisdom and enthusiasm, especially in their sporting careers.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the messages I’ve received.”

Mr Beardsworth, who had been president for the past two years, was also a Ribblesdale League umpire and played representative cricket for the Lancashire Fire Service, where he worked for more than 20 years.

As well as being a passionate Rossendale United FC fan until their recent demise, he held a Blackburn Rovers season ticket for 30 years, and followed the England cricket team on tours to Australia and the West Indies.

Ron Ashworth, Stacksteads CC’s league representative, described Mr Beardsworth as a ‘solid friend and a forceful batsman’.

He said: “Stuart took on his duties as president with great enthusiasm. He attended every first XI game and he will be sadly missed.”

Mr Tattersall added: “He was a character. He pitched in and helped with everything, from training to groundsman duties. He was almost like a team manager at times.”

Mr Beardsworth’s funeral takes place at Accrington Crematorium on November 16 at 2.20pm, followed by a gathering at Waterfoot Conservative Club where he was a member.