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Tributes pour in for 'stalwart' sports figure Tony Drake

‘Cricket in Berkshire is poorer’ following the death of a key sporting figure in the area.

Tributes have been paid to former Berkshire County Cricket Club board member Tony Drake, 57, who suffered a heart attack and collapsed while jogging near his home in Lower Earley on Thursday, January 9.

Berkshire County Cricket Club’s director of communications and Finchampstead CC’s development officer, he also had close ties with North Maidenhead Cricket Club, a one-time player and later its chairman, and was chairman of the Julian Cup.

He was a keen football fan too, regularly attending games at Reading FC, Binfield FC and Maidenhead United FC.

Tony also turned his hand to running; a Shinfield Running Club member, he took part in the Parkrun series at Woodley, with more than 50 runs to his name.

He was married to wife Debbie and had two daughters Rebecca, 26 and Emily, 19, and a son Robert, 23.

Neil Doody, the Berkshire CCC chairman and Finchampstead CC president, said: “Cricket throughout Berkshire is poorer at the loss of this stalwart of the game.”

In a statement, North Maidenhead CC said: “Tony was a friend, a gentleman and loved at our club. Our deepest sympathies to the family and everyone who had the pleasure to know him.”

Tony was educated at St Mary’s Junior School in Maidenhead and Desborough School, before attending Reading College of Technology.

He began a career in finance in 1979 with the Prudential before moving to Norwich Union, where he stayed until 1996. He then worked as an adviser and sales director for an advisory business for 21 years before joining the Reading office of the financial advice group LEBC, where he was a team leader and financial planner.

Graeme Copas, former sports editor at the Advertiser, said: “I knew him for about 42 years and we used to play junior cricket together.

“He was just a really honest, solid family man. He was committed to sport, and local sport in particular.

“His life tended to revolve around family and sport.

“He used to love the Olympics and had a Tokyo [2020] shirt. When we had the Olympics over here he spent a lot of money on tickets.

“Nobody would have had a bad word to say about him.”

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