Fred Trueman cremated in North Yorkshire church
London, July 6 (UNI) Retired umpire Dicky Bird, ex-England skipper Ray Illingworth and former Yorkshire captain Brian Close joined hundreds of others to pay their last respect to England's bowling great Fred Trueman at the Bolton Abbey Priory Church in North Yorkshire today.
A veteran of 67 Tests and a nightmare for the batsmen worldwide, Trueman had died of lung cancer on Saturday at the age of 75.
Addressing hundreds of mourners, Dicky Bird -- Trueman's former Yorkshire team mate -- said, ''He was a genius and I use that word very, very sparingly.
''There have not been very many geniuses in sport - Muhammad Ali in boxing, Maradona, Pele and (George) Best in football, Michael Johnson the great American athlete, (Donald) Bradman, (Sir Garry) Sobers, (Dennis) Lillee and Trueman. I put him up there,'' he said.
On the verge of breaking into tears, he described trueman's death as passing away of a wonderful friend.
Reverend John Ward, Rector of Bolton Abbey, described Trueman, first bowler to claim 300 Test wickets, as a ''cricketing colossus'.
''England lost more than a football match on Saturday, it lost a genuine sporting hero. But the loss to his country, his fans or his friends is as nothing compared to that of his family,'' he said.
Close, in his tribute, said, ''He was one of the greatest fast bowlers ever, as far as I was concerned. He was a great man.'' Yorkshire coach David Byas said, ''He epitomised everything that cricket was about. He was Yorkshire through-and-through.'' A book of condolence is kept at the Headingley cricket ground, alongside Trueman's photograph and a stump from the 1964 Test Match against Australia, in which he took his 300th Test wicket.
Meanwhile, BBC will screen a rare film footage of Trueman in a half-hour tribute to be screened on BBC One in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
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