The funeral arrangements have been announced for popular umpire Brian Atkinson who has died after a two-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
His funeral will be held at Cottingley Crematorium on Wednesday, December 21, 9.15am and will be followed by a wake at Pudsey Congs.
Cricketers and officials from across the league have been paying tribute to Brian with his is passing being felt particularly deeply at Rodley where he was a popular and much-loved member.
Brian served the club as Child Welfare Officer for a number of years and was hugely supportive of the club’s junior teams. He still visited the ground even after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
Brian umpired for many years and was much-loved for his officiating of junior matches. Liversedge player Graeme Winn posted on Facebook, “Such sad news. I played hundreds of junior games with him umpiring. His famous look down and stick his finger up will never be forgotten! A very kind man I got on so well with.”
New Farnley’s Mark Lawson wrote: “Awful news. I loved him umpiring our junior rep games in the Heavy Woollen," while Rodley stalwart Gary Sagar said: "“Such sad news, what an absolute gem of a guy. Hugs and kisses to his lovely family."
Brian was served on the umpiring panels of the Leeds League, Central Yorkshire League and the Bradford Premier League. Everywhere he went he was loved and respected.
The ECB ACO’s Regional Officer Barry Oliver said in his post: “He was an umpire exam checker for the ACU&S when I first met him. I umpired with him indoors and outdoors. A great man who will be sadly missed.”
And Richard Jones the County Umpires Education Officer provided further evidence of Brian’s huge contribution to the game he loved.
“Brian was a member of the Leeds & District Cricket League Umpires Association as well as being the examination officer for the West Yorkshire Branch of ACU&S working under Derek Shuttleworth. He was the one when you had done your GL6 or GL5 written exam that marked it and sent out the results.
“When the Leeds League folded he moved to the CYCL and after the merger the BPL umpires panel. A long career in cricket, Brian will be missed by all who loved, liked and respected him.”
Philip Radcliffe, the league’s Cricket Operations Officer, added: “Such sad news. I umpired with him at junior and senior level indoors and outdoors, Thoughts are with him at this sad time.”
And Nigel Thornton, administrator of the Bradford Premier League Match Officials Association summed up everyone’s wish: “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and club at this sad time.”
Long-serving umpiring colleagues Kenny Kingsbury, Pete Langley and Paul McFarlane have all paid tribute via Facebook to a man who made an immense contribution.
League Chief Executive Alan Birkinshaw said: “The game of cricket has lost a great servant. As a league we were fortunate that Brian umpired in our competitions. The tributes from players and umpires alike show just how much he was respected and loved. I hope the many wonderful comments will be solace for his family at this sad time. Our thoughts are with them.”
League photographer Ray Spencer called in at Lightcliffe this week to catch a glimpse of the...