John Edrich, one of English cricket’s most renowned opening batsmen in the 1960s and 1970s, has died at the age of 83.
The prolific Test player, who appeared in 77 Tests for his country and scored 12 centuries between 1963 and 1976, fell in love with the north east of Scotland while he and his wife, Judith, were on a walking holiday in the region.
They later moved to Ballater with Mr Edrich helping coach Aberdeenshire CC at Mannofield for a number of years and organising several charity golf events to boost the local community after it was devastated by flooding in 2012 and 2015.
He was diagnosed with incurable leukaemia 20 years ago, but continued to play an active role in sport and fundraising activities and attributed much of his recovery to the pioneering mistletoe therapy which he received from Dr Stefan Geider at the Camphill Well-being Trust in Bieldside in Aberdeen.
Mr Edrich arranged another golf day for the trust, which raised more than £11,000 and he spoke to the Press and Journal about his efforts to help others in times of difficulty.
He said: “It was sad to see the devastation which was caused to so many homes and businesses after Storm Frank struck Ballater [in December 2015].
“But it was amazing the way that the community pulled together in adversity. We were made to feel welcome in the village from the moment that we arrived and it is nice to be able to put something back when it is needed.”
Mr Edrich lost his wife earlier this year. And he had become friends with the former Scotland the What? entertainer, Buff Hardie, who died earlier this month.
He was regarded during his Test career as being a courageous, committed performer and his fearlessness saw him twice returning to the wicket to bat during the 1974-75 Ashes tour, despite having his hand and ribs broken by Australian bowler Dennis Lillee.
In 1977, the year he was made an MBE, Mr Edrich scored his 100th century at The Oval, and subsequently became the marketing director of a bank in Jersey.
His family later moved to South Africa, but his son’s death in a car accident was the catalyst for him and his wife to return to Britain and relocate to Deeside.
He said in 2012: “It’s the best move that we could ever have made. We have found new friends here, we are living in a beautiful part of the world, and I still get to enjoy cricket on a regular basis. We both feel blessed.”