League president Keith Moss has paid tribute to former JCT600 Bradford League umpire John Hardaker, who has died aged 87.

Moss, who knew him as a work colleague and match official, said: “I knew him firstly as a much-valued colleague at builders and plumbers merchants, Rycrofts Ltd of Bolling Road, Bradford.

“John joined the company in the early seventies following retirement from the police force.

“I remember how we always managed to find time on a Monday morning in the season to discuss the previous Saturday’s league fixtures.

“John was a very well-regarded umpire in the Bradford League and that brought me in close contact with him. Without doubt he was one of the finest umpires to have graced the league.

“As befitting a former police officer, he stood no nonsense on the field of play. He was a life member of the Umpires’ Association.

“The important thing is he had the respect of all players. Firm but fair sums him up perfectly. He served the league well. I am proud to have known him. He was a perfect gentlemen in every respect.

“May I, on behalf of all members of the league, express our sincere condolences to John’s wife Hilda, his son Richard and two grandchildren.”

John’s funeral service and cremation will be held at Nab Wood Crematorium tomorrow at 2pm.