A FORMER East Lancashire Cricket Club player has died at the age of 72.

Father-of-three Brian Ratcliffe, who joined the club as a junior in the 1950s, died at home after a battle with stomach cancer.

Tributes have been paid to the ‘committed’ and ‘friendly’ team member, who had captained his side in the 1960s and 1970s.

Larry Pearson, chairman of the East Lancashire Cricket Club, said the batsman was very well-respected.

He said: “Brian was a player for many years before he retired in the 1980s.

“He came to the club as a junior and then he got into the first team and captained them for many years. His first year was in 1963 and he continued until 1967 and then he had another spell in the 1970s for several years.

“He was a very friendly man and he was very, very devoted to his cricket.

“Brian got on with everybody.

“He was somebody that was very much involved with the club and he took his responsibilities very seriously.”

Grandfather Mr Ratcliffe, who also enjoyed playing golf, lived in Colenso Road, in Blackburn, before retiring to North Wales with his wife Margaret.

The draughtsman, who had worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Lower Darwen, last visited the club around three years ago on a trip to East Lancashire.

Mr Pearson said: “Brian liked Wales and he went on holiday there a lot. He felt that it would suit his lifestyle.

“He played quite a lot of golf in his last years.

“His death is very sad news because he was generally a fit and healthy man “It is a big loss for the club and everyone who knew him.”