A FORMER Skipton man has been recognised for serving 50 years as an umpire in the Airedale and Wharfedale Senior Cricket League.

Don Summersgill, who now lives at Horsforth, umpired his first Aire-Wharfe League game on April 19, 1969, a second team match between Skipton and Addingham.

His loyalty to the league and the game was recognised at the Umpire's Association AGM when he was presented with an inscribed tankard by association president John Chartres and outgoing secretary Tony Crowther.

The presentation was accompanied by a heartfelt round of applause from his fellow umpires and friends.

One of his long-time friends, Mike Hibbert, former president Aire-Wharfe Cricket League and the league Umpire's Association, paid tribute to Don.

"In 50 years, I would say he's missed less than 100 games," said Mike. "He doesn't miss many, and if he does, it would only be for something like a wedding or a funeral," said Mike. "He's very reliable; 100 per cent reliable."

"For an umpires appointments secretary, Don is a dream," he said. "Send him his fixtures in April and if you don’t see or hear from him again until September you know he will have been to every game listed on time and done a good job."

And Don, now 86, is showing no signs of slowing down, as he is looking forward to his 51st season in April 2019.

"I'm not the oldest umpire in the league (as there is one is aged 91), but I've done 50 years," said Don. "I can't complain and I've had some good times.

"It's the best thing I've did, and I've never had any bother over the years."

Don grew up in Skipton and attended Ermysted's Grammar School.

After serving in the RAF alongside Freddie Trueman, Don moved to Shipley and first became involved with Bradford Moor Cricket Club in 1962, where as secretary he organised many tours all over the country in the 25 years he was connected with them.

"We initially played friendly cricket," said Don. "I wasn't a very good player, but I've always really enjoyed my umpiring.

"I've umpired around the world, including touring games in New Zealand, Australia and even the Greek island of Corfu.

Don has an interest in many sports, and when he was younger he was a professional runner competing in fell running, cross country and road running.

However, cricket has always been his first love. And these days he follows and supports his local club, Hall Park Cricket Club.