A MEMORIAL service is to be held in Bristol, with a reception at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, for the sporting world to pay tribute to North Devon s famous cricketing son David Shepherd. The service is to be held at Holy Trinity Church, Westbury-o

A MEMORIAL service is to be held in Bristol, with a reception at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, for the sporting world to pay tribute to North Devon's famous cricketing son David Shepherd.

The service is to be held at Holy Trinity Church, Westbury-on-Trym on Thursday, November 26, at 11.30am.

Locally, a private cremation is to take place at the North Devon Crematorium next Thursday, November 12, followed by a celebration of his life at Instow Parish Church at 12 noon.

Many local friends are joined by cricketers and fans worldwide in mourning the passing of Shep, as he was known throughout cricketing circles. He died peacefully at his Instow home last Wednesday at the age of 68.

He was a jovial character who carved himself a special place in the sport.

Shep 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 officiated in 92 Test matches and 172 one-day internationals, including three World Cup finals.

He retired in 2005 and had been battling cancer in recent years.

It was at the North Devon Cricket Club in Instow, where his family ran the local Post Office, that Shep first learned to play.

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 right up until his death.

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 will be of him walking around the ground with Skip his dog. Everybody knew Shep and Skip 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 and there is a statue dedicated to him near Lord's Cricket Ground in London.

A tribute from his former Gloucestershire club said: "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 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."

Other tributes include from international umpiring colleague Dickie Bird, who described Shep as "a great man, a tremendous bloke" and also as "a fine umpire."

Hundreds of messages have also been left on Facebook, from people from all over the world.