Hundreds pay respects to cricketer Ray Illingworth – ‘a Farsley man through and through’

Venue: St John's Church in Farsley

Mourners turned out to pay their respects at the funeral of Pudsey-born Ray Illingworth, a former England captain.

Mourners lined the streets as one of Farsley’s most famous sons made his final journey through the village from his home on Calverley Lane to St John’s Church, in Town Street.

A wake was later held at his beloved Farsley Cricket Club, where he started his career as a boy.

Mr Illingworth was as one of England’s most successful cricket captains, leading his side to a 2-0 Ashes series victory in Australia in 1970-71, and then retaining the Ashes at home in 1972. 

He also enjoyed a successful domestic career with Yorkshire and Leicestershire and was one of the leading figures in English cricket for the best part of four decades as player, captain, commentator, administrator and coach.

A spokesperson from Farsley Cricket Club said:

“Ray still continued preparing pitches at his beloved Farsley Cricket until the age of 78 and finally gave up his job as a groundsman in 2010, citing back problems.

“Ray was a Farsley man through and through and was perhaps the most famous sportsman the village has produced. He will be sadly missed at Farsley Cricket Club.”

Mr Illingworth, who passed away on 25 December 2021 aged 89, had been undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer. His son-in-law Ashley Metcalfe, a former opening batsman with Yorkshire, told mourners:

“He was hugely proud to have spent so much of his life in the village he knew as his home.

“Raymond knew life was precious and he didn’t take a single day for granted – he had no regrets and achieved a huge amount.

“We know Raymond leaves the world of cricket much richer for the part he played but we also were lucky enough to know him as a wonderful, caring and hugely supportive husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather to his family. 

“He was far more than a cricketer, he was the most caring, generous and supportive person you could ever meet.”

Richard Hutton, David Byas, Martyn Moxon, Geoff Cope and Craig White were among the former cricketers present, while Steven Paterson represented the current Yorkshire team. Former umpire Dickie Bird also attended.

A fundraising page set up by Mr Illingworth’s daughter, Diane, has so far raised almost £2,500 towards the Leeds Cancer Centre and the junior section at Farsley Cricket Club. Donations can continue to be made here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.