THE CHAIRMAN of Droitwich Cricket Club has paid tribute to a popular young cricketer who collapsed and died at the age of 23.
Jack Stephens was on his way to Edgbaston to watch a one day international between England and New Zealand when he lost consciousness in Malvern’s retail park.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics, hospital staff and passers-by who witnessed the tragic incident last Tuesday (June 9), he did not come around.
James Hancher, chairman of Droitwich Cricket Club, said they were ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’ by the news as he joined them as a junior before going on to captain all the age groups. Mr Stephens was also awarded young player of the year in 2008.
“Everyone who has dealt with Jack at the club have only positive things to say about him,” he said.
“This is a testament to his character – he was a talented young man with a very bright future ahead of him.”
Tributes have also flooded in on social media sites since Mr Stephens’ passing and Mr Hancher said the club was now determined to support his family and friends.
A special memorial service was held on Saturday (June 13), while club members have agreed to wear black arm bands for the remainder of the season as a mark of respect.
Mr Hancher added: “There will be many fund-raising events and plans going on at the club to raise funds in memory of Jack.
“Our main focus at this point is to support the fund set up in Jack’s name and support his friends and family in any way we can.”
Mr Stephens, who lived in Droitwich before moving to Barnards Green in Malvern, also kept fit by playing at Droitwich Golf Club, while working at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.
In the role of policy and PR executive, Mr Stephens had recently helped to organise the visit of former world champion hurdler Colin Jackson to the city and was in preparation for a meeting with the Bank of England this week.
Mike Ashton, chief executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said he was an outstanding young man who achieved so much.
“He was well respected and loved by all who met him and his professionalism was seen first hand by so many.
“I will miss him, the chamber and chamber staff will miss him but more than that, the world will be a worse place without him.”