HUNDREDS of people filled a Thornbury church to bid farewell to town, county and England cricketer David Allen.

Mourners paid their respects at a service of celebration at St Mary’s Church on Tuesday, June 17.

The former Thornbury Cricket Club president and England player died on Saturday, May 24, aged 78.

He had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer just six weeks earlier.

Rev David Pole of David's local church, St Helen’s Church in Alveston, led a service to remember David’s formidable professional life alongside his life as a husband to wife Joyce, father to Mark and Tracey and grandfather to Katie, Jemma, Helen, Anna and Alex.

Tim Brain, former Chief Constable of Gloucestershire and Steve Dayman, founder of Stroud-based charity Meningitis Now joined family, friends and cricketers at the service.

The off-spinner’s career saw him play in 39 Test matches for England, taking 122 wickets at an average of 30.97.

David played for Gloucestershire for 19 years, claiming 1,209 wickets at 23.64 in 456 appearances.

His brother John said described David as a respectable, generous and popular man and shared childhood memories of playing cricket together between houses in Bristol, using a cheap batting ball and a lamppost as a wicket.

Daughter Tracey spoke of the impact her father’s morals and principles had had on the whole family.

Thornbury CC chairman Chris Stutter said David was a remarkable man who had been a father figure for the club.

“We are all blessed and privileged to know him,” he said. “He will live long in our memories, a fine cricketer and a fine man.”

Tributes from cricketing colleagues praised David’s dedication to coaching youngsters and supporting charities in the years after his professional career ended.

His lifelong love of the sport saw him play for Almondsbury, Thornbury – where he went on to become chairman and club president – and coach in Alveston.

His coffin was adorned with purple and white flowers with blue accents and he was carried out to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s My Way following a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.

David’s brother closed his tribute saying: “We all leave a legacy. David leaves one I shall not forget and I hope you shall not forget.”