A DEFIBRILLATOR has been installed in Bradford in memory of former Eccleshill and Bradford CAMRA cricketer Stephen Benn, who died aged 43 from heart complications in 2017.

His friends, and particularly members of Hepworth & Idle Cricket Club, have been thinking of ways to remember him ever since.

Thanks to several fund-raising efforts, including memorial cricket matches and crowdfunding, enough money has been collected to install a defibrillator outside the Idle Draper micropub at The Green in Idle.

Stephen’s mum Sandra said at the official unveiling: “I don’t know how to begin to say thank you to so many people for this amazing and enduring tribute to the memory of my late son Stephen – better known as Benny to all his friends.

“I can take no credit for any of it.

“After ‘Benny’ died, his wonderful friends at Hepworth & Idle Cricket Club, with the support of CAMRA, instigated the inaugural Stephen Benn Memorial Trophy cricket match (in 2018) to raise funds towards a defibrillator for the cricket club, which they succeeded in doing (it was installed in 2019, helped by a grant from the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund).

“Last year obviously fell victim to Covid, so when I was told they were going to hold another memorial match day this year to raise funds for a defibrillator in Idle in memory of ‘Benny’, I was in total agreement.”

Mrs Benn added: “Thanks to the hard work and efforts of everyone involved, from players and supporters (including Emmerdale actor Chris Chittell) to back-room and groundstaff, all of whom donated raffle prizes (to the beer festival), and the support of CAMRA, the fantastic sum raised on the day was just over £1,000.

“And in the ensuing four days a crowdfunding page, kindly set up by Craig (Milner) and generously supported by well-wishers, raised the balance (£700) to fund this defibrillator.

“A huge thank you to everyone who has helped in any way to achieve this.

“Special thanks must go to Dave Matthews and Craig Milner for all their time, effort and hard work in organising it all to ensure a successful outcome.

“Obviously, Carolyn (Stephen’s sister) and I think of ‘Benny’ every day and miss him so much, but we take enormous comfort from the fact that, despite the passage of time, he is still remembered with so much affection by his wonderful and amazing friends.

“He would be so overwhelmed by all your efforts to honour his memory in this truly fitting way. He might even be rendered speechless, but that’s doubtful.

“If the defibrillator saves just one life all your efforts will have been worthwhile.

“Thank you all so much. Time to raise a glass, sing Summer of 69 in Stephen’s honour, and do a quick tipple-tail.”

Jim Emmett, landlord of the Idle Draper, and BC Electrical helped with the installation of the defibrillator outside the pub, which was used just three days afterwards following an incident at Idle Co-op.

Now the aim is to raise £4,000 via another charity cricket match at Hepworth & Idle during the beer festival next June so that two more defibrillators can be installed nearby – at the Springfield Centre in Idle and in Wrose.