Tributes paid to Boldon 'cricket legend' Michael who has died aged 79
Tributes have been paid to a ‘cricket legend’ who dedicated himself to Boldon Cricket Club for over 60 years.
Michael Fitzsimons died at the age of 79 on July 11 after a brave battle against a long illness.
He joined the club as a batsman aged 16. He would become first team captain, before taking over duties as groundsman years later when he stopped playing. His work there was entirely voluntary.
He did play for other teams for a while on Teesside. But his heart most definitely belonged to Boldon. He was also a scorer in local leagues, as well as being a fan of Sunderland AFC.
As well as his life in his beloved cricket, Michael was an electrician, most recently for South Tyneside Council.
He was also an accomplished musician, playing keyboards in folk band Seganainm, which is a Celtic word meaning “Untitled”. He performed alongside his wife Trish, who played accordion and fiddle. The couple were married in 1974.
As well as his sporting and musical achievements, he was renowned for a tremendous sense of humour. He was known as something of a king of the one-liner.
One of his other great loves was for travel. He was especially keen on Gran Canaria.
Trish said: “He was an absolute legend. He was a great character and very funny.
“Sometimes you could be horrified by some of the things he came out with. But people would still see the funny side - even umpires and the opposition.”
Club member and former player, Steve Golightly, said: “He was a really funny man and a great servant to the club. Fiti will be a huge miss in the community and to his many friends around the cricket and folk music scene.”
Michael’s funeral took place at South Shields Crematorium on July 20. His ashes have since been scattered over the Boldon cricket pitch, which he tended to with such distinction.
Boldon Cricket Club’s over-60s are staging a game against Yorkshire in Michael’s memory at their Sunderland Road ground at 1pm on Tuesday, August 25. A JustGiving page is also to be set up to create a memorial.