Tributes paid to Ipswich cricket colonel and local legend Paul Crane
PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:47 24 January 2020
Tributes have been paid to cricket-loving 'colonel' and local Ipswich Greyhound legend Paul Crane.
Although Ipswich-born Paul's military days only stretched to national service, the cricket-mad batsman became affectionately known as "the colonel" after forming the Ipswich Greyhound Regiment with friends.
He died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, January 22, aged 82.
Starting as a team of players from other local clubs, the regiment later travelled the world on their annual trips, playing as far as Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia.
One-time team mate Rick Jones said he will miss the laughter that made their friendship so strong.
He said: "He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of spending even a short time in his company because there will be few who have not been affected by his sharpness of mind and the humour of his response.
"His determination to play the game that he loved on every continent shows the utter dedication to play his wonderful game in the company of like minded souls in his beloved regiment whenever possible and wherever they might be.
"It is a testament to his qualities as person and a leader that he was able to do this for over fifty years."
Former East Anglian Daily Times sports writer Neal Manning said Paul, who was also known as "Digger", was a legend of the local game, having first met in 1962.
He added: "Cricket was the common denominator of our friendship although from a playing perspective he was a far, far better player than I ever was and he twice represented Suffolk in the Minor Counties Championship.
"He had often told me that he was selected a few years after he should have been.
"The Ipswich Greyhounds Regiment, a cricket touring side that I had been associated with since the mid-70s was arguably 'Digger's' particular passion. Run on military lines, he had been the top man, the 'Colonel' from day one, and it was only by his invitation that you could become a party of an institution that flourished for half a century."
In his later years, Paul served as president of Ipswich Cricket Club.
Ipswich Cricket Club said the colonel will be sorely missed, while East Bergholt Cricket Club said the local cricketing world is a much sadder place following his death.