Hats on in tribute to Hartlepool Cricket Club legend Ken Gardner

The late Ken Gardner, president of Hartlepool Cricket Club until his death in July 2012
The late Ken Gardner, president of Hartlepool Cricket Club until his death in July 2012

CRICKET players and supporters tipped their hats to a club legend by wearing Panamas for the final home match of the season.

Scores of people donned the distinctive headgear in tribute to former Hartlepool Cricket Club president Ken Gardner who died last year.

Members of Hartlepool Cricket Club life their Panama hats in memory of club stalwart, the late Ken Gardner.

Members of Hartlepool Cricket Club life their Panama hats in memory of club stalwart, the late Ken Gardner.

Ken was always to be seen wearing his trademark Panama at matches and club officials decided to hold the tribute on Saturday as the First XI side hosted their last home game of the season against Great Ayton.

Alan Jackson, chairman of Hartlepool Cricket Club said: “Ken used to wear his Panama all the time smoking his cigar. He was well known for it.

“It was how he used to watch his cricket.

“Every single one of the spectators wore one along with our 1988 team who were also holding a reunion on Saturday so it was a huge success.

“Ken died just before the end of the season last year so this is the second year we have done this as a tribute.

“Ken was a local cricket legend and is still hugely missed.”

Club president Dr Peter Relton spoke about Ken’s achievements at the club on Saturday and Alan also said a few words before making a toast to the great man.

Ken, who was also a former governor of Hartlepool College of Further Education, died in July last year after a battle with illness aged 71.

His death was met with huge sadness by everyone who knew him and people were quick to pay their respects to describing Ken as a hero and a man of principle.

Ken, a father-of-three who lived in Tunstall Avenue, Hartlepool, served on the committee of Hartlepool Cricket Club for 50 years and was also a member of Durham County Cricket Club committee for 35 years.

He was also president of the North Yorkshire South Durham (NYSD) league for eight years until 2003 and served as vice-president until his death.

His dedication saw him become the third man to be inducted into the NYSD Hall of Fame.

He was cared for at the town’s Gretton Court Nursing Home since October last year until his death.