Tributes have been pouring in from across the north east after one of the region’s best-loved cricketers lost his battle with cancer.
Alan ‘The Doc’ Docherty was a stalwart of the local scene for more than 35 years, still turning out for Newcastle’s third team until last summer.
Docherty, 62, from Wallsend, spent the bulk of his cricketing career with Backworth after joining the club in the early 1980s.
The self-employed chemist was also a permanent fixture in the Nomads squad – a group of north east cricketers who tour every year in the first week of August.
Best pal Doug Hudson, a Newcastle Cricket Club member and organiser of the Nomads tour, said: “Right up until Doc passed away last week he was joking about paying his subs for this year’s trip.
“He didn’t miss a tour for 30 years and introduced lads from across the north east to the social side of the game.
“Doc was an inspiration to players young and old and was well liked across the region.
“I don’t think he’d mind me saying that he was never the greatest cricketer in the world but he was the greatest of characters and remained hugely popular wherever he went.”
Durham County Cricket Club’s Mark Wood posted on social networking site Twitter: “Sad to hear the news about the ‘Doc’. Legend of cricket up in these parts and a great character.”
And former Durham favourite and ex-Australia Test star Marcus North added: “Sad to hear Alan ‘Doc’ Docherty has left us. A true character and legend of north east cricket.”
Docherty’s standing in the north east game was reflected across the region following news of his death last week with Benwell Hill just one of the clubs flying flags at half mast.
Backworth’s Facebook page and Twitter feed was dominated by tributes to a player who spent more than 25 years at the Wellstream Northumberland and Tyneside Senior League club.
Secretary Ron Bradford said: “Alan will be a huge miss to north east cricket and north east sport in general.
“As well as playing cricket he loved watching the game. And he was a big supporter of North Shields Football Club.
“He was a fantastic servant to Backworth and influenced hundreds of junior members over the years.
“He was always looking to sign up our young players for the Nomads tour and encouraging them to play their cricket farther afield.”
Docherty was diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier this year and Hudson added: “It was all very quick from his diagnosis to his death and I think everyone’s still in a state of shock.
“But most people in north east cricket have a story to tell about Doc – or a story he passed on to them – and that’s how we’ll keep his memory alive.”
Docherty is survived by his sister, Karen, nephew Gary and niece Beverley. His funeral will take place on Friday, August 2, from 11.15am at Tynemouth Crematorium.