BRYAN Coombs, one of Berkshire Cricket Club’s longest-serving members, died suddenly at Woodley home last Thursday night.

The 84-year-old had been involved with the county since his teenage years.

Current chairman and close friend Neil Doody said: “He must have joined at a young age as he often mentioned he had been a member since the 1940s, which is remarkable.

“I spoke to him last week to make plans for me to take him to our match at North Maidenhead on Sunday, so I was very shocked when I heard he had died.”

Coombs had followed the county first-team home and away for many years, travelling with Doody and another close friend, Geoff Mains. He also arranged their overnight accommodation for away trips. He was also a member of Reading Cricket Club, as well as being an umpire and scorer.

Away from cricket, he was a keen punter on horses and football, placing his bets at the Cowan shop, close to his home.

“He came in virtually every day, including last Thursday. He seemed his usual perky self,” said shop manager Debbie Belgrave.

“We were all shocked to hear he had died and all the staff here are going to miss him.”

Les Neate, who lives in the same retirement block saw Coombs the same day, and said he looked fine.

But when he took him in a cup of tea on Friday morning he discovered him dead in bed.

The funeral arrangements have still to be made.