A FORMER cricketer hanged himself after a lengthy battle with depression, an inquest heard.

Malcolm Bradley, 66, was discovered by his friend Geoffrey Rodwell at his home in Ford Street, Barrowford, in December.

An inquest at Burnley heard he had struggled to cope after the death of his mother and felt let down by his ageing body.

Having risen through the ranks at Nelson Cricket Club in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, he also served on the committee for a number of years and played football, table tennis and badminton for the club.

East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor heard how Mr Bradley had survived an earlier attempt to take his own life when he overdosed on tablets in November.

Mr Bradley, also an outstanding golfer in his younger days, remained single throughout his life and spent a lot of time at his allotment in Barrowford, which he kept for more than 30 years.

He worked as a civil servant at the District Valuer’s Office in Burnley before setting up his own landscape gardening business.

Before his death, he wrote a number of letters to close friends to thank them for their support, but said he felt ‘separated from life’.

Mr Rodwell told the court: “He always had a very wide circle of friends. We did everything we could to assist him with his social life.”

After his overdose, Mr Bradley spent five weeks recuperating at Ribbleton Hospital. Mr Rodwell said he saw Mr Bradley for the last time on Boxing Day last year and received a phone call four days later from worried neighbours who had not seen him.

In recording a verdict that Mr Bradley took his own life, Mr Taylor said: “He was fortunate that he had such good friends but unfortunate that he had a depressive illness he couldn’t cope with.

“He was in a very low, dark place when visited, and whatever assistance he was given by the medical and mental health teams was never enough, and that is not their fault.”