TRIBUTES have been paid to Worcester Warriors club president Cecil Duckworth CBE who has died at the age of 83 after a lengthy illness.
The establishment of Warriors as one of the top 12 clubs in England is due entirely to Cecil’s vision and generosity.
The club made rapid progress from Midlands Two to the Premiership, while Cecil was also responsible for the development of the Sixways site to one of the leading grounds in the country.
“Everyone at Warriors is deeply saddened by the news of Cecil’s death. Our thoughts today are with Beatrice and the Duckworth family,” said Warriors co-owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring.
“His rugby legacy is an immense one and one that we are proud to have inherited.
“Cecil has been a tremendous help to us over the last two years and a source of invaluable advice and guidance in his role as president.
“It says much about Cecil’s vision that the plans for the development of the Sixways site that we are working on at the moment are based on a masterplan that Cecil drew up 25 years ago.
“Cecil was respected throughout rugby, he was a superb ambassador for Warriors and for the city of Worcester and Worcestershire.
“Although Cecil was born and raised in Macclesfield, he lived in Worcester for more than 60 years and took great pride in the local community through his generous support of so many charities and organisations, including Warriors Community Foundation.
“Cecil was much loved by players and staff, past and present, at Sixways and he will be missed by us all.”
Warriors will hold a minute’s silence in Cecil’s memory before Saturday’s opening Gallagher Premiership match of the season against London Irish at Sixways.
Worcestershire County Cricket Club are also devastated by the passing of Cecil, who became Pears president in March 2019 after a very long association with the club.
His legendary passion for sport in the county shone through on many occasions, not least on T20 Blast finals day at Edgbaston in September 2019 when he watched Worcestershire win their semi-final, popped back to Worcester to watch the Warriors play a rugby match, before returning to watch Worcestershire compete in the final against Essex.
Worcestershire County Cricket Club chairman Fanos Hira paid tribute to the huge contribution Cecil brought to the board by saying: “I was deeply saddened to recently hear of Cecil’s ill-health. I spoke to him last week and, even though his health was failing, he spoke with noticeable enthusiasm for cricket, recalling his memories as a child of watching Len Hutton play at Lancashire.
“I had the pleasure of getting to know Cecil whilst he was president of our club. He will be greatly missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him. This is a very sad day not just for our club, but the whole of Worcestershire and beyond.
“The thoughts of everyone at Worcestershire County Cricket Club are with Beatrice and his family. May he rest in peace.”