Rossendale Free Press

Family tribute to cricket ace ‘loved by everyone’

He worked at mills across the Valley

- JOSEPH RICHARDS freepressn­ews@menmedia.co.uk @RossFreePr­ess

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former mill worker and cricket star who has passed away aged 89.

George Westwell, who starred for Bacup Cricket Club and worked in cotton mills across Rossendale, died from pneumonia at Royal Blackburn Hospital aged 89 on November 19.

After being diagnosed with dementia around three years ago, George was living at Acorn care home in Blackburn.

Son Tim paid tribute to his dad saying: “He was just a genuinely nice man, everybody loved him.”

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former mill worker and cricket star who has passed away aged 89.

George Westwell, who starred for Bacup Cricket Club and worked in cotton mills across Rossendale, died from pneumonia at Royal Blackburn Hospital aged 89 on November 19. After being diagnosed with Dementia around three years ago, George was living at Acorn care home in Blackburn at the time of his death.

He caught and survived Covid twice.

His first wife Mary, who he married in 1953, died in 2009 and the pair had six children; Gail, who died in 2019, Paul, Andrew, Ian, Tim and Tony.

He was also the grandfathe­r to 17 grandchild­ren as well as being greatgrand­father and even a great-great grandfathe­r.

His second wife Jean, who he married in 2011, was also diagnosed with dementia and is currently in a care home in Oswaldtwis­tle.

Son Tim paid tribute to his dad saying he ‘was a well thought of and well respected member of the community’.

Tim said: “He was very gregarious.

“He absolutely loved talking to people.

“You couldn’t go anywhere and I mean anywhere in the country without bumping into somebody because everybody in the area knew him from playing cricket.

“He played all over the place.

“He was a well thought of and well respected member of the community.

“He was just a genuinely nice man, everybody loved him.”

Born in 1932, George grew up in Haslingden, working in various cotton mills before meeting his first wife Mary when he then moved to Bacup. George worked in various cotton mills around the Valley, including Tunstead Needle Felt in Stackstead­s, which burned down in 1961, and Grove Mill in Haslingden, although Tim said his dad had ‘more than 30 jobs’ before his retirement in 1997.

He also served as a driver in the Royal Engineers during the Suez Crisis in 1956 as part of thousands of conscripts into the army, where he served alongside local businessma­n Neville Cormack who founded Cormar Carpets.

Tim added that his dad’s passion was sport, particular­ly cricket and golf as well as reading the Free Press every Thursday.

George started playing cricket in the 1950s and was a member of the Bacup Cricket Club side that won the Worsley Cup in 1956, alongside West Indies legend Everton Weekes.

As well as cricket, George started playing golf in the 1960s, playing for Rossendale Golf Club from 1971-1984 before becoming captain of Towneley Golf Club in his mid-70s.

Tim said: “He played football originally, for Blackwood United in Stackstead­s, he then started to play cricket in the 1950s when Everton Weekes was the profession­al.

“My dad opened the bowling and progressed to opening the batting. One of his claims to fame was he faced Dennis Lillee and apparently he got Clive Lloyd out. He said he got ten runs against Dennis, who dad said didn’t like him because he couldn’t get him out so he bowled a bouncer and my dad just put the bat up to protect his head, because they didn’t wear helmets, and he got caught.”

 ?? ?? George Westwell
George Westwell
 ?? ?? ●●A Bacup Cricket Club line-up with George Westwell second from right on the bottom row
●●A Bacup Cricket Club line-up with George Westwell second from right on the bottom row
 ?? ?? ●●George Westwell, who starred for Bacup Cricket Club and worked in cotton mills across Rossendale, has died aged 89.
●●George Westwell, who starred for Bacup Cricket Club and worked in cotton mills across Rossendale, has died aged 89.
 ?? ?? ●●George and Mary Wetswell celebratin­g their 40th wedding anniversar­y in 1993.
●●George and Mary Wetswell celebratin­g their 40th wedding anniversar­y in 1993.

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