Cricketers mourn death of North Devon's Shep.
NORTH Devon s famous cricketing son David Shepherd has died at the age of 68. Shep, as he was known throughout cricketing circles, played for Devon and Gloucestershire before becoming a familiar face on the worldwide cricketing scene as a Test and interna
NORTH Devon's famous cricketing son David Shepherd has died at the age of 68.
Shep, as he was known throughout cricketing circles, played for Devon and Gloucestershire before becoming a familiar face on the worldwide cricketing scene as a Test and international umpire for more than 20 years.
He retired in 2005 and had been battling cancer in recent years.
It was in Instow, where his family ran the local Post Office, and at the nearby North Devon Cricket Club, that Shep first learned to play.
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He took up the professional game with Gloucestershire, with whom he played for 14 years, and earned a reputation as a hard-hitting batsman.
But he never left North Devon Cricket Club and was always involved with it in one manner or another, serving as vice president for many years, right up until his death.
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Paying tribute to a great friend and loyal supporter of the club, chairman Colin Payne said:
“David has been associated North Devon Cricket Club for virtually the whole of his life and despite the fact he went off around the world and became a world figure, he always came back to Instow in North Devon.
“I think that’s where some of his happiest hours were spent, with his mates and colleagues at NDCC.
“The picture that will stick in my head would be of him walking around the ground with Skip his dog. Everybody knew Shep and Skip probably about as well as they knew anybody and he would always be sat in our long room watching the game.”
“We have lost a great friend and life long supporter, player and an iconic figure of NDCC and we are all going to miss him.”
Shep’s umpiring career began in the early 1980s.
He became known for his trademark of keeping one foot off the ground if the score was 111, considered an unlucky omen for batsmen.
He was widely respected throughout the cricketing world.
In 1987 he was awarded the MBE for his services to the game.
There is a statue dedicated to him near Lord's Cricket Ground in London.
His former club revealed the news on its official website yesterday (Wednesday): "Gloucestershire County Cricket Club is sad to announce the death of their former player and international umpire David Shepherd. David brought to all aspects of cricket a cheerful West Country approach. He was respected by all with whom he came in contact, especially the international players with whom he encountered in so many Test matches. He always brought a smile to all our faces. For him cricket was a lovely game, a simple game and a game to be enjoyed. He brought so much enjoyment to so many of us."
Hundreds of messages of tribute to Shep have been left on Facebook, many from young people from all over the world, including South Africa and Australia.
The North Devon Gazette adds its tribute to a man loved and respected by so many and our sympathies go to Shep's family.