Tributes were paid following the death of ‘Mr Lisburn Cricket Club’, Cecil Walker MBE.
Cecil was a life member of the Wallace Park club, which joined in 1944, and served as president with both the Northern Cricket Union (NCU) and the Irish Cricket Union.
He also received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors in 2011 for service to sport in Northern Ireland.
Lisburn Cricket Club said it was “with deep sadness” that they announced Cecil’s death following a period of illness.
In a statement posted to their social media, the Lisburn CC board added: âTo Gloria, Robin, Jill, Elliott, Shannon and the entire Walker family, we extend the club’s heartfelt condolences at this very sad time. Simply put, Cecil was “Mr. Lisburn’s Cricket Club”.
âA member since 1944, the Ivan Street boy was a distinguished club captain from 1963 to 1967 and again from 1969 to 1971 (his total of eight seasons as captain of the 1st XI remains a club record). won six Challenge Cups early in his playing career before becoming club captain for three senior league titles, leading some of the best teams in Wallace Park cricket history.
âOff the pitch he was a dedicated administrator who became the backbone of the club, holding almost every position at one point or another. He was club secretary for 14 years (1972-1986), president from 1990-1994, president from 1996-1998 and Club Patron from 2000-2004 and again from 2018 upon his death.
âOutside of the park, Cecil was instrumental in the development and administration of Irish Cricket. He served as president of the Northern Cricket Union in 1986, a life member of the NCU and chairman of the Irish Cricket Union in 1988.
âAs his close friend Robin Walsh said in a recent article, ‘If you had to pick a team of those who have made the greatest contributions to cricket in Ireland over the years, Cecil Walker would be written in all caps. even do it captain ‘. “
Cecil’s dedication to Lisburn Cricket Club was recognized in 2008 when the Wallace Park pavilion was named after him.
The statement added: âAs he took a step back from his administrative duties, Cecil’s dedication to his club and his sport was recognized at home and beyond. In 2008, the Wallace Park pavilion was named after him in recognition of his dedication to LCC.
âThis was followed by the receipt of the International Cricket Council Centenary Medal in 2009, which recognizes the exceptional work done by cricket volunteers across the world. Two years later he received an MBE as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors for service to sport in Northern Ireland. .
âEven though his health has deteriorated over the past few years, he has continued to visit the park most Saturdays with Gloria throughout the 2021 season, to watch his beloved Lisburn. We are incredibly proud of having had Cecil as a member of the Lisburn Cricket Club and for all he has achieved in local cricket.
However, more important than any of his accomplishments in the sport, Cecil was a true gentleman, a great friend to many, a loving father and grandfather and a devoted husband to Sylvia, who passed away in November 2017.
“He will be sadly missed by everyone at Wallace Park.”
Other tributes were paid to Cecil on social media.
Former Press Association Ireland editor Deric Henderson said: “A sad day for the club. He was also a useful table tennis player in his day. He whipped this cheeky kid many years ago. many moons and what a pleasure to meet the great man years later as he watched cricket at Wallace Park. “
Lurgan Cricket Club added: “Very sad to hear this. A true gentleman and a legend from Lisburn. RIP.”
Victoria Cricket Club tweeted: “Very sorry to hear this news. Cecil was a legend not only of Lisburn Cricket but also of the NCU as a whole. Our hearts go out to Victoria to her family and to all of Lisburn CC in this regard. moment.”