MOURNERS packed a church to pay their respects to cricket legend Keith Barker - with tributes being paid by ex-players from as far away as his native Barbados.

The funeral service, held at All Saints Church, Clayton-le Moors, heard tributes from the cricket world, including one from ex-West Indies and Lancashire captain Clive Lloyd.

Keith's wife Val was joined at the service by his children Andrew, Amanda, Gary, Dean, and Keith.

A wreath in the shape of a cricket bat adorned his coffin and another mourner carried one which said "Dad".

Charles Law, who played cricket with Keith in Barbados and had just flown in from island, read the eulogy.

Keith was born in Barbados in 1936, an exciting time for a birth of talent in the Carribean.

The Barbados team at the time included cricketing greats such as Sir Gary Sobers and Frank Worrell.

The former Enfield and Rishton professional died suddenly, aged 71, at the end of last month.

In 1965, he joined Enfield in the Lancashire League as a professional, playing in the same era as West Indian legends Charlie Griffith, Wes Hall and later Clive Lloyd.

Barker also played for Rishton between 1972 and 1974 before joining Great Harwood in the Ribblesdale League as professional between 1975 and 1977.

In 1983, Barker returned to Enfield for a second spell - this time as an amateur - and smashed the club's highest individual score of 132 runs in a game, a record that still stands.

But his finest hour arguably came while playing against them when Rishton won the 1973 Worsley Cup final.

Mr Law, who played alongside Keith for the British Guiana team, said: "Keith was a competitive player to put it mildly.

"You knew you were in a match when Keith was playing."

Mr Law also talked about Keith's legacy of coaching youngsters, which he continued when he moved to England in the 1960s.

Describing him as a "no-nonsense coach", he said Keith helped aspiring cricketers at New Era community centre in Accrington.

He said: "His wife Val has been a tower of strength to him especially when his health was failing."

The congregation was then given a few moments to reflect on their own memories of Keith while the song "Good as Goodbye Gets" by Gary Chapman was played.

Vicar John Tranter said: "I am sure if they play cricket in heaven whenever we reach the pearly gates we will hear a big roar."

Ex-cricketers were also there to say a final goodbye. Ex-East Lancashire player Jim Kenyon, who is now Secretary of the Lancashire Football Association, said "He was a great fellow, competitive on the field and a great companion for a drink after the game."

Dave Lomas played against Keith when he was at Rishton.

He said: "I remember sitting with Keith at the top of a double decker bus in Rishton.

"We were both smoking and I will always remember keith wearing his Barbados hat.

"He was a top quality bloke, a one hundred and twenty percenter," he added.