Cricket stars of the past, present and future came together to bid farewell to a local legend Les Pilkington, who has died aged 98.
Les, of Eachill Gardens in Rishton, was a former player of Baxenden Cricket Club and served as president for more than 50 years.
His funeral at Accrington Crematorium was attended by former England and Lancashire all-rounder Ian Austin, who began and ended his playing career with Baxenden.
Afterwards at the ground where Les held a batting record for 65 years his grandchildren and great-grandchildren played a game of cricket in his memory.
In a moving ceremony it was heard that Les was born with ‘a twinkle in his eye’ and was ‘sports mad from the moment he could walk’.
After school Les started his working life as a linotype operator at the Accrington Observer where he met his late wife Vera.
Les played his part during the Second World War with the Lancashire Fusiliers and returned home to start his life with his beloved Vera in Accrington.
Funeral minister Lianna Champ said the couple shared “a deeply loving relationship” which was blessed with sons David and Stephen, to whom Les was devoted.
Les later joined the family business selling towels and bedding and worked tirelessly into his his early seventies.
If Vera was the Les’s first love, cricket was a close second.
Before the war he was captain of Accrington Cricket Club and on his return Les joined Baxenden and played until he was 40. He was made President of the club, a position he held for the remainder of his life.
Football was another of Les’s passions. At the age of five, he was the very first mascot at Accrington Stanley where his dad was chairman. And last year, 92 years on, Les was invited onto the pitch as the mascot before the match against Rovers.
His life suffered loss when his son Stephen died suddenly aged 51, and in 2011 Vera, passed away.
Les died peacefully on July 23 after a short illness.
In a final tribute Lianna Champ said: “The giving of self through love is the greatest pleasure that life can give - and we will all remember Les as someone who lived by that.
“If Les’s life had been a cricket match he definitely gave it the full face of the bat.”