Second Shepherd brother dies

FORMER Devon cricket all-rounder Bill Shepherd, who played for the county between 1962-69, has died after a short illness. He was in his early 70s. Bill, from Instow, was the older brother of David Shepherd, the North Devon cricketer who went on to play f

FORMER Devon cricket all-rounder Bill Shepherd, who played for the county between 1962-69, has died after a short illness. He was in his early 70s.

Bill, from Instow, was the older brother of David Shepherd, the North Devon cricketer who went on to play for Gloucestershire and gain fame as a Test match umpire.

David died last October after fighting cancer for more than a year. Brother Bill died on Tuesday of the same disease. He went to see his doctor over Christmas, complaining that he felt unwell. A body scan revealed cancer of the liver,

Bill, who never married, was an all-round sportsman in a similar mould to his better-known brother.


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He played rugby for South Molton and football for Bideford. He also played hockey, was a more than a useful darts and skittles player and a keen golfer.

But the one sport Bill excelled in above all others was cricket. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he was on the Lord's ground staff as a young and promising batsman and left-arm spinner. He scored 100 at Lord's for the MCC Young Professionals, a feat many cricketers only dream about.

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In 1959 the two Shepherd brothers played against each other, David for English Schools and Bill representing MCC Young Professionals.

Bill returned to his Instow home in the early 1960s to help run the family post office business with his mother Dolly. The post office was the hub of the village, with Bill its mainstay, until his retirement five years ago.

During his post office years Bill continued playing cricket for North Devon CC and Devon, achieving many fine performances with bat and ball. During the last few years Bill umpired the seconds and thirds.

North Devon club chairman Colin Payne said: "It is very sad news to hear that Bill Shepherd has passed away. I'm sure all those who knew Bill will be as saddened as I am by this news. A super cricketer and a great bloke - he will be missed by us all. This is a double blow for the club, so soon after the death of David. Our thoughts go David's wife Jenny, who has lost a husband and brother-in-law in such a short space of time."

No funeral details had been arranged at the time of writing.

Anyone seeking further information is asked to contact Colin Payne on (01271) 377394 and not to call the family.

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