THE cricketing community is mourning the sad loss of Tony Stedall, one of the driving forces behind the establishment and running of the the Somerset Cricket Museum for many years, who passed away on May 11, at the age of 95.

Tony was born and Coulsdon in Surrey on June 3, 1925 and from an early age had an interest in cricket and rugby, which was further enhanced when he went on to attend Cranleigh School.

When the Second World War broke out, he signed up at the earliest opportunity and joined the Tank Regiment.

In 1944 Tony took part in the D-Day landings and served as a member of the crew of a flail tank that helped with the liberation of France.

Tony met his wife Sheila in 1947 and four years later they were married.

In 1955 their son Neil was born and they moved to live in Taunton, initially at Creech Castle before eventually settling in Trull, which remained their family home.

Tony joined Somerset CCC as soon as the family moved to the county and quickly became heavily involved.

He became secretary of the Somerset Supporters' Club and along with the officers of the organisation - Jack Goldsworthy, Rex Frost, Richard Robinson and Ken Wills - proposed the idea of creating a cricket museum.

In 1979 the site adjoining the County Ground, that included the old Priory Barn and was being used at the time as a builders yard by F and F Small, came up for sale, which the Supporters' Club duly purchased.

Tony became secretary of the initial committee and later the first curator of the Somerset Cricket Museum.

Tony and Sheila worked tirelessly to create a building suitable to house the museum and then collect items to display.

Tony continued to serve as secretary and curator of the Somerset Cricket Museum from the time it opened in 1989 until 2006, during which time he was always supported and helped by Sheila.

After retirement from his post, Tony continued to be involved as a Trustee of the Somerset Cricket Museum until he moved into the Manor Nursing Home where he died.

Somerset cricket is indebted to Tony Stedall for the time and commitment that he gave over many years to creating and maintaining the Cricket Museum, which is a lasting memorial to him.