Cricket saddened by death of former Southern Premier League chairman

Paul Thompson, left, receives his lifetime achievement award from Alan Bundy. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography

Paul Thompson, left, receives his lifetime achievement award from Alan Bundy. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography

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Recreational cricket across the region has been saddened by the death of former Southern Premier League (SPL) chairman and vice president Paul Thompson, aged 69.

In his playing days, he was an opening batsman for South Hants Touring Club and latterly Portsmouth.

And after hanging up his bat, he became heavily involved in cricket management and administration.

He simply loved the game and, from the SPL chair, was anxious to uphold its traditions and values.

Thompson served as vice-chairman and treasurer of the old Southern League in the 1990s and took up similar roles when the new SPL was formed in 2000.

He was chairman for four years until 2013, after which he led the Hampshire Cricket Board’s grounds and facilities committee.

In a tribute, SPL president Alan Bundy said: ‘Paul was always ready to volunteer.

‘He never shirked a responsibility and gave an immense amount of energy to SPL cricket, in particular, and cricket as a whole.

‘He was meticulous in everything he did, he was a stickler for the rules and regulations and gave countless hours of his time to helping clubs in every way.

‘Every weekend during the summer months, he and his wife Maria would be at cricket, watching the game and chatting to players and officials, always willing to pass on helpful advice.

‘His excellent leadership ensured the competition went from strength to strength.

‘He was a prominent player in securing the past sponsorship agreement with Southern Electric, strengthened our ties with the ECB and HCB, and ensured the SPL remained one of the most respected and forward-thinking recreational competitions in the country.’

Thompson’s contribution to cricket was acknowledged in October 2014 when he became the first recipient of the SPL’s lifetime achievement award.

Away from cricket Thompson, who lived in Havant and spent a large chunk of his working life with IBM, was a magistrate for almost 20 years.

He was south east bench chairman from 2002 to 2005 and before becoming a deputy chairman.

Thompson’s funeral will take place at Portchester Crematorium on Thursday, March 17 at 3pm.

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