Tributes to legend of cricket Bob Duckett

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Tributes have been paid to a legend of local cricket who flew Spitfires in the Second World War before becoming a respected umpire.

Bob Duckett served as captain, committee member and president of Burghley Park Cricket Club.

Bob Duckett

Bob Duckett

Born in Ormskirk, Lancashire, in 1923, he served in the RAF during the latter part of the Second World War, flying Spitfires across Europe.

After leaving the RAF he joined the construction industry and came to Stamford in the late 1950s to work on the town’s new bypass, which later became the A1.

Bob, pictured left, was a keen cricketer and fine swing bowler. He soon joined Burghley Park Cricket Club and for more than 50 years maintained close ties with the club, including a spell organising the popular Burghley Sixes Tournament.

After hanging up his pads he took up umpiring, at which he excelled. Bob served on the Minor Counties Umpires’ panel for 19 years, becoming one of the longest-serving officials in its history. He also took charge of several first class matches, the majority of which involved the minor counties select XI against visiting international touring sides.

Bob umpired matches which included many of the legends of cricket including Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and David Gower. He also formed the Stamford and District Association of Cricket Umpires, holding annual training courses.

Last year he was invited to Biggin Hill for a Remembrance Day reunion and was taken to the air in a Spitfire once more.

Bob died last month aged 91. His funeral took place in Chelmsford on March 6.

Burghley Park treasurer Derek Patience said Bob would be sadly missed. He added: “I can’t think there are many cricketers in the area who haven’t heard of Bob Duckett.”