HE served them for more than 60 years and was dubbed Mr Fawley Cricket Club.

Fawley and New Forest Cricket Club Association stalwart Alan Sturgess has died following a long illness.

A playing member and president at Holbury for 63 or more years, Alan worked for many years enhancing the pitches at Long Lane, the Waterside club being named SPL Ground of the Year in 2014. Alan was also long time secretary of the New Forest CCA.

In a tribute, Fawley chairman John Church said: "We have lost our leader, mentor and friend. Alan simply was Mr Fawley CC.

"As a player, Alan was a competitive and talented all rounder. He always gave 100 per cent and loved winning; however he always played the game in the right way, enjoying a pint with the opposition afterwards. He loved to encourage and support younger players as they made their way in the game.

"Off the field, Alan held most positions within the club. When the club’s actual existence was in doubt following the collapse of the social club, it was Alan who galvanised us as a committee to not give up.

"The work he and his grounds team put in ensured we always have had one of the very best grounds in the county. I know how rightly proud he was when Fawley was named the best ground in the whole Southern League back in 2014. Del, Reg and Shaun who work on the ground with Alan will miss him greatly.

"He also took on roles to support the wider cricket community. I know the whole local cricket community will be saddened by this news. The club will never be the same again that is for sure."

Speaking on behalf of the New Forest CCA, association chairman Nick Gossip said: "Alan was an exemplary Secretary of NFCCA, serving in excess of ten years.

"His exceptional organisational skills proved invaluable in arranging the Stone Cup and Presidents Cup competitions which are open to all New Forest cricket clubs, at all levels.

"Alan took a great interest in all clubs participation, and was thrilled when his own club, Fawley, won the Presidents Cup against Bashley (Rydal) this season.

"The NFCCA committee are proposing a new trophy in Alan’s honour for the coming season."