Cricket clubs across the city have paid tribute to “gentle giant” all-rounder Simon Stirling after he lost his cancer battle aged 51.
Mr Stirling, of Stanley, was a talented Central Yorkshire League cricketer who played for clubs including Carlton, near Rothwell, East Ardsley and Wakefield St Michael’s.
He was diagnosed with cancer of unknown primary in February this year and told he was terminally ill in September.
Mr Stirling died at Pontefract’s Prince of Wales Hospice last Wednesday.
Originally from Palmerston North, New Zealand, Mr Stirling played more than 40 games for the Manawatu Cricket Association’s (MCA) senior representative team in his home country.
Richard Walker, Mr Stirling’s friend of 15 years and first team manager at Carlton Cricket Club, said: “He was quiet but witty and a very good cricketer. He will be missed by a lot of people.”
Mr Stirling’s widow Carol, 55, said: “He told me every day how much he loved me. We were really close. He was just my gentle giant.”
She added: “It’s unbelievable the amount of support I’ve had from his friends and everyone at the Prince of Wales Hospice was wonderful. They didn’t just look after Simon, they looked after his family and friends as well.”
Mr Stirling was stepfather to Paul Dean, 34, and the late Craig Dean, who died in 2007 aged 23 in a road traffic accident.
A statement on the Central Yorkshire League’s website said: “The Central Yorkshire League has lost one of its most respected players.”
Mr Stirling’s funeral will be held from 10.30am on Tuesday December 30 at Stanley Methodist Chapel, Lee Mount Road, Stanley. It will be followed by a wake at the Travellers Inn on Lake Lock Road, Stanley.