Family and friends pay tribute to Sudbury Cricket Club legend and former journalist Alan Cocksedge
One of the biggest contributors to sports and the press in Sudbury over the last 60 years has been remembered by family and friends as “a loyal friend” and “a Sudbury man through and through”.
Alan Cocksedge died at home, surrounded by his family, on Wednesday, November 20, following a battle with cancer.
Tributes have poured in from across the community over the past week, recognising his many contributions to town life, including his 44-year career as a local journalist, beginning as a 16-year-old trainee reporter for the Suffolk Free Press in the late 1950s, before moving to the East Anglian Daily Times.
A prolific sportsman, Alan was also well known for his involvement in numerous sporting organisations, most notably with Sudbury Cricket Club, where he played for almost 50 years, including more than a dozen in the first team.
He later became an honorary lifetime member, and helped to spearhead major developments at the club.
Alan’s wife, Carolyn, whom he was married to since 1967 and had two children with, described her husband as tenacious with everything he was involved in, whether it was sports or journalism.
“He was a loyal friend,” Carolyn said. “He was a loving husband, father and granddad who supported us all in our own pursuits.
“He believed in freedom of the press, getting the truth, not always making friends along the way, and couldn’t tolerate those economical with the truth.
“We do have fond memories of the hours spent watching cricket and preparing teas. Many meals were abandoned when the siren went or he was out on a story.”
Born in Cockfield in 1942, Alan moved to Sudbury when he was six, and was educated at Sudbury Secondary Modern School.
He joined Sudbury Cricket Club after school, eventually rising to first-team captain during his extensive playing career, and also organised and led the fundraising for two major clubhouse extensions and a new bar.
As club historian, he also helped to produce a number of books on the organisation’s long heritage.
Chairman Louis Brooks, who played alongside him as a junior member, said he had been inspired by Alan’s work to join the club’s committee, and credited him with bringing many young players, as well as several overseas coaches, to the Talbots over the years.
“I was very privileged as a youngster to see what the club meant to the likes of Alan and his generation,” he said. “This, I know, has spurred many of us on to keep driving the club forward.
“He knew what it meant to be a Talbot, and I will fondly remember him as one of the greats of the club.
“There will be a big hole in the club next season, and we thank him for his support.”
Having worked in Sudbury’s local press from 1958 until his retirement in 2002, Alan covered a huge range of new and sports occasions, with exclusives such as a memorable visit of John Lennon and Yoko Ono to Lavenham Market Place.
His many other endeavours included 30 years as a school governor, and a member of the Round Table, The Sudbury Society, Gainsborough’s House Society and Newton Green Golf Club.
In press secretary roles, he was credited with attracting major attention to the scrambles run by the Sudbury Motor Cycle Club (SMCC), and helped draw 60,000 people to the Sudbury Mammoth Olde Tyme Rallye in Melford Hall in 1969.
Roger Chaplin, SMCC president, who first met Alan as a school student back in 1956 and later served with him as directors of Sudbury Sports Ground Ltd, said: “As a journalist, he was always first with the news, and we nicknamed him ‘Scoop’ Cocksedge.
“On behalf of the Sudbury Motor Cycle Club and myself, thank you for everything you have done for us. We will always be in your debt.”
Alan is survived by his wife, Carolyn, daughters Tania and Amanda, son-in-laws Pete and Jay, and grandchildren Oscar and Luca.
A celebration of his life will be held at AFC Sudbury on Monday, December 16, starting at 2.30pm.
More by this authorThomas Malina