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Tributes to a club legend

Club receives many tributes for hard-working coach

John Pearson sadly passed away suddenly in late February 2022. His passing came as a great shock to everyone at Rainhill Cricket Club, as well as to the wider local cricketing community. John served Rainhill CC in a variety of roles over many years. It is probably easier to list the roles he didn’t have: he was a coach, a team manager, a committee member, club treasurer, and Activator for All-Stars and Dynamos. He was also a well-respected umpire, known for his fairness and integrity—but principally for his love of cricket.

To describe John as a legend is not to do justice to the incredible contribution he has made to club and community. He was a driving force behind so many positive initiatives and his legacy is immense. But it would be wrong to remember him only in terms of his contributions and what he has done for the club: John was also one of the great characters at Rainhill CC. His enthusiasm, zest for life, sense of humour and belief that cricket should be for everyone made him popular wherever he went.

In the aftermath of John’s passing the club received many tributes, which we are publishing here alongside some photographs of John doing what he enjoyed most. The club believes that these tributes capture exactly the kind of person John was and show how much he meant to those who knew him, as well as how much the club meant to him. Just two weeks before he passed away the club had nominated John to be a baton bearer for the Commonwealth Games baton relay, such was the esteem in which he was held. He was a great man who will be fondly remembered.

The club will also be dedicating 150 Not Out, a book telling the story of Rainhill's 150th anniversary season (in which John played a major role), to John's memory. These tributes will also be published within the book, which is expected to be published in May 2022.

“Absolutely devastating news. The club meant so much to John. Such a gentleman, kind, caring and always gave his time to other people. This kids and the parents absolutely adored him as did the seniors in the club. A true legend in every sense of the word. Such a kind man who absolutely loved the club, the parents and most importantly the juniors. He was the pied piper - he will be so badly missed. RIP John." Mike Rotheram, Club Captain

“John was a true gentleman and invaluable member of our club. He had an unassuming friendly manner and his popularity was immense.

“John was a driving force with the development of Junior Cricket , undoubtedly an inspiration to our juniors and was highly regarded by parents. His commitment to the Club is highlighted by the roles he was taking on- Treasurer, Coach, All Stars/ Dynamos Activator, Umpire and Junior Team Manager. I will miss my own regular interaction on ‘club matters’ with him managing the clubs finances so effectively. I will always remember fondly and it was a pleasure to have been able to present John with the Clubman of the Year award at the October 21 presentation event and see the pride and joy the award gave him. His legacy at Rainhill CC will indeed be long lasting.

“John will be greatly missed by all and our condolences go to his family and friends.”

Peter Mercer, Club President

“ Very sad to lose such a popular man and a great servant to Rainhill CC.

“John covered so many important roles for the club in such a diligent and enthusiastic manner. He was friendly with everyone, but will be especially remembered for his impact with junior cricket and the high regard parents held him in.

“We will all greatly miss John as a friend and Club member of the highest standing.

“My deepest sympathies to John’s family and friends.” John Rotheram, Club Chairman

“On a perfect summer’s day at the Rainhill cricket club gala, in 2021, the opportunity for our 7 year old twin daughters came along to have their first real taste of cricket. Both nervous, they cued up in line to register for a special one hour session.

“They were greeted by a smiling, friendly face. The calm and reassuring nature of John Pearson had them instantly relaxed and having fun, in no time. His soft and friendly voice was perfect for teaching children, the fundamentals of the game - always encouraging them without judgement and a unique ability to communicate with the most fragile age group.

“Only weeks later the girls had signed up to play for the under 9s. They were invited to a presentation day, where John's eyes were once again lit up by their presence. It was as if every child he coached was his own grandchild. He paid them so much attention and treated them with so much care and respect. John was constantly putting his own time and money into the team, it seemed as if youth cricket was everything he lived for.

“After coaching the girls through the winter indoor season and having many successful performances. The girls developed skills week by week and formed strong bonds with their team mates. On Friday the 25th of February, the girls attended another excellent training session and John was on top form as usual.

“We were all heartbroken by the news that came through, only a few days later, that John had sadly passed away. But with heavy hearts we are left with the blessed feeling that, although we only knew john for a short time, he has left us with a legacy and memories that will last a lifetime. Rest in peace John, you will be forever in our hearts.” The Stokoe family

“Such sad news about John. He was an amazing member of the Rainhill CC family. Emily loved having him as her coach and he will be sorely missed. Thoughts are with his family at this time.” Vicci Ashcroft

“I am totally lost for words and it will be a difficult time for the Club without John’s enthusiasm, his zest and love for the game at all levels, and of course most importantly in the junior section.” Craig Brougham

“A genuine man who gave so much to others. He will be greatly missed by everyone at the club.” Martin Lowrie

“Lovely man and did so much for the club and the kids. Good night, God bless John. Love to his family and all who knew him. So, so sad.” Gayle Albanese Jones

“Clubs need the Johns of this world - people who get involved for the good of others. Some little All Star's player will grow up to become a great player and it all started with him. Thanks for all you did John.” The Curlett Family.

“I have many memories of John, but what struck me about him was how much he enjoyed everything he did. He was absolutely dedicated to cricket, and most importantly to youth cricket. He was in his element around young people; he loved them and they loved him. All grown-ups were children first, and John was one of these people who never forgot that.

“You couldn’t be around John and not feel his passion for the game. But he was passionate about many other things too. Three years ago I organised a charity cricket match for CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably). John found out about it and immediately offered his services as umpire. He wouldn’t hear about any payment. He just wanted to be part of something that was raising money for a cause he cared about. That was so typical of John.” Andrew Page

“All very sad here. John was a lovely man, who contributed so much. The kids loved him. My son was talking about the ‘fun games’ John would organise. Thoughts to the club and his family.” Lisa Griffiths

“Great person and a true sportsman always had time to ask about everyone whether it be football or cricket, very very sad news.” Andrew Morris

“Desperately sad news. John was universally liked by everyone in our league, did every job going at Rainhill, and worked particularly tirelessly with the youngsters. Condolences to John's family and all at Rainhill.” Liverpool and District Cricket Competition

“Terrible terrible news! John was a brilliant fella and someone we looked forward to spending Saturdays with. Condolences from us all at Sutton.” Sutton St Helens CC

“He was a great bloke. So sorry to hear. Condolences to his family and friends.” Greg Harvey

“Very sad news, such a nice bloke and put a lot of hours into the club. Condolences to his family and friends.” Chris Chambers, Women & Girls Cricket Pathway Manager, Lancashire Cricket.

“Such sad news, John was always a great help with U9s games, tournaments and fixtures. He’s enthusiasm towards all clubs was fantastic, he will missed.” Greg Pennington, Cricket Development Officer, Lancashire Cricket Foundation

“John gave me the chance to play in my first ever tournament. He was a very generous man who taught me a lot about cricket.” Xanthe Page, age 9

“One of the nicest fellas you could wish to meet and a good umpire as well. Condolences from everyone at Maghull CC.” Paul McKenna, Maghull CC

“We are saddened to learn of the sudden death of John Pearson from the Merseyside Cricket Umpires’ Association and Rainhill Cricket Club. John was a well respected umpire and we send our condolences to his family and friends.” Maghull CC

“Awful news, such a nice guy and a huge influence on Rainhill CC. RIP John.” Phil Curran

“What a great shame gentleman of the highest order. Humble and gentle man who would do anything for anyone. R.I.P John.” Kev Wilson

“John was my uncle and was a great man have fond memories of him when I was growing up. He was a very hard working man and his passing will have such a huge impact on everybody that knew him. R.I.P. John till we meet again X” Kevin Hughes

“Goodnight, God bless John. It was a pleasure to of known you and call you our friend. You’ll be missed so much. From all of us at The Holt.” Denise Blundell

“Lovely bloke and good umpire.” Mark Wilkie, Caldy CC

“So sorry to hear this sad news. He was a lovely man. My thoughts and condolences to his family and friends.” Alan Atkinson

“I didn’t have much interest in cricket until I went to All-Stars at Rainhill Cricket Club. I went there quite nervous that my children’s energetic nature may be too much for the coaches. The first coach I met was John he reassured me that all were welcome. He made everyone feel welcome and had so much patience and energy. He also made ordinary children feel like they were cricket superstars. I wish there were more people like John - he will be greatly missed by me and my family”. Anna Page

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