True stalwart who raised £7,000 for cancer charities

Richard Crossland pictured last year, when training for his Pennine Way challenge
Richard Crossland pictured last year, when training for his Pennine Way challenge

Richard Crossland, who died in December, was born in Sheffield and grew up in Hathersage, Derbyshire - but for the best part of four decades was a true stalwart at Todmorden Cricket Club.

His dedication to the club - he was a long time committee member, helped out the ground staff team and served as both chairman and president - has seen messages of condolence to his family come in from all over the world, including former professionals Daryl Scott and Pakistani test star Mohsin Khan.

Many friends joined his family to celebrate Richard’s life at his St Mary’s Church funeral service last Friday, and later at the Centre Vale club.

Richard, who was 68, had fought a long battle with cancer and made the headlines with a marathon fundraising trek last summer where, accompanied by friend and trainer for the event Brian Windle, he walked the almost 300-mile Pennine Way to raise money for the Rays Of Hope fund at St James’ Hospital in Leeds, which funds research into creating a vaccine for liver cancer, the Colorectial Upper and Lower GI fund at Calderdale Royal Hopsital and the Chemotherapy Centre (Jayne Garforth Fund), also at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

It was Richard’s very practical way to say “thank you” for the help and support he had received and the total raised sailed past the initial £5,000 target, eventually reaching over £7,000.

Richard left Hope Valley College, Hathersage, to begin an apprenticeship as a builder - his grandfather and uncle had a business in Sheffield - but initially he didn’t complete it as he moved to Todmorden when his parents, Horace and Margaret, moved to Todmorden to take over the Top Brink Inn at Lumbutts around 1962.

After meeting his wife Lesley - they married at All Saints’ Church, Hamer, Rochdale, in 1967 - he eventually decided to take an unpaid day away from working on the building sites each week to finally gain his apprenticeship qualifications at Salford College, being awarded the Silver Trowel award, marking him out as one of the best apprentices in Britain. Initially asked if he would teach students part-time, teaching these skills became a full-time job at the college where he was faculty head when he retired in 1999.

The family, now including children Alan and Helen, settled into their new Todmorden home built by Richard in 1975, and it was shortly after this his long-standing support of Todmorden CC began.

The club had advertised for someone to lodge incoming professional Mohsin Khan, and the future Pakistan test star was duly welcomed into the Crossland household, leading to Richard and the family’s long-lasting links with the club.

This has included, as well as watching and supporting teams on the field, dealing with incidents ranging from the disastrous flood of 1982 to establishing with fellow members the long-standing social event in many people’s diaries each year, Todmorden Beer Festival. It was commitment which won him the Todmorden News Ron Wild Trophy for services to sport.

He leaves his wife, Lesley, and son and daughter Alan and Helen and their families, including grandchildren Daniel and Mason.