FAMILY have paid tribute to Thornbury Cricket Club president and former England cricketer David Allen.

The revered off-spinner died on Saturday, aged 78.

His career saw him play in 39 Test matches for England, taking 122 wickets at an average of 30.97.

David played for Gloucestershire for 19 years, claiming 1,209 wickets at 23.64 in 456 first class appearances.

Once his professional career was over he played for Almondsbury for five years and then Thornbury, where he went on to become chairman and later club president. David lived just a two-minute walk away from the club’s ground in Alveston and coached the juniors and seniors at the club.

His son Mark Allen said the cricketer had been a true professional in all aspects of life.

“He gained a great respect from everyone who knew him,” he told the Gazette. “Dad’s life was family and cricket. He was still involved with Thornbury Cricket Club up to his death, coaching the senior teams and having a huge part to play in youth cricket.”

Mr Allen described his father as a great family man who had continued to coach his grandson Alex, who plays for Thornbury and represents Gloucestershire County Cricket Club as a left arm orthodox spinner, until a few weeks ago.

Speaking to the Gazette four years ago, David said cricket had been a “tremendous love of my life.” The consummate sportsman had also enjoyed playing indoor bowls at Thornbury Leisure Centre.

Gloucestershire CCC described David was saying best remembered for when he played out the last over from Wes Hall in the 1963 Test against the West Indies at Lord’s to salvage a draw, protecting Colin Cowdrey, who came in with a broken arm.

David was admitted to Bristol Oncology on Wednesday morning, passing away around 6.15am on Saturday. He had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer just six weeks earlier.

He leaves behind his wife Joyce, son Mark and daughter Tracey as well as five grandchildren.

His son added : “I will remember Dad’s constant support throughout all aspects of our families’ lives, his humour and his total dedication to everything he did – a true professional.”