MOURNERS crammed into a Clayton-le-Moors church to pay their final respects to cricket legend Keith Barker.
Ex-players from as far away as his native Barbados sent tributes, which were read during the funeral service at All Saints Church.
Mr Barker, 71, of Kingsway, Church, died of heart failure at the Royal Blackburn Hospital last month surrounded by his family. He had been ill for some time.
His widow Valerie was joined at the service by children Andrew, Amanda, Gary, Dean, and Keith, and more than 300 guests.
A wreath in the shape of a cricket bat was placed on his coffin, and one mourner carried one which said “Dad”.
Charlie Moore, who played cricket with Mr Barker in Barbados, flew in from the island to read the eulogy, recounting Mr Barker’s life and his achievements both in cricket and his youth work.
Mr Barker came to the UK from the West Indies as professional for Enfield in the 1965-66 season.
He later played for Rishton from 1972-74, where he won the Worsley Cup, beating his former club in the final.
He then joined Ribblesdale League side Great Harwood, where he was professional between 1975 and 1977.
He was fortunate to have played alongside childhood friends and cricketing greats such as Gary Sobers, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes and Clive Lloyd – who sent a tribute to be read at the service.
He returned to Enfield as a highly respected coach in 1983 and finished his cricketing career in 1997.
He also became an ECB advanced coach and played for Lancashire over-50s.
The cricket all-rounder had the opportunity to play alongside sons Gary, Keith and Andy – who still plays for Enfield.
Keith junior was also a Blackburn Rovers professional before being released from Ewood Park last year.
Mr Barker was described as a “no-nonsense coach” who helped aspiring cricketers at New Era Community Centre in Accrington.
Vicar John Tranter led the service, attended by ex-East Lancashire player Jim Kenyon, ex-Rishton player Dave Lomas, former Enfield captain and Lancashire Cricket Club president Eddie Slinger and Peter West, who played against Mr Barker.
Personal messages were sent to the family from Gary Sobers, one of Mr Barker’s closest friends, and England bowling coach Otis Gibson.
Mr Barker’s son Andrew said: “We would like to thank everyone for their condolences and good wishes at this very sad time.”