Belfast Telegraph

Cricketer Gordon Brown loses cancer battle two years after on-pitch collapse

By Victoria Leonard

The late president of Carrickfergus Cricket Club has been described as a "legend" whose death will leave a "big hole in his club and community".

Father-of-two Gordon 'Gordy' Browne (42) died on Monday, exactly two years after he collapsed during a game in Muckamore due to a brain tumour.

He leaves behind daughters Ruby (4) and Lola (7) and wife Rae.

Mr Browne, who joined Carrickfergus Cricket Club as a 10-year-old in 1986 and had risen to the rank of president, had helped raise more than £3,600 for Brainwaves NI following his diagnosis.

His sister Gillian Hunt, who is continuing to fundraise in his memory, said he had remained positive despite his illness.

Her Justgiving page had raised more than £1,000 in the 24 hours after his death.

"Gordon was one of the most popular, most well-liked people," she said.

"Everyone in the family is devastated, but he won't be forgotten and we will make sure to carry on doing the fundraising in his memory," she said.

"He knew that the anniversary of the start of all this was approaching and it was just one of those sad coincidences that he passed away on that day."

She said her brother, a former senior civil servant with the Northern Ireland Office, "fought bravely".

"He had initially stopped playing cricket for a year while he was treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but then he started playing again," she said.

"When he could no longer take an active role in playing he turned to mentoring.

"There were two places he was completely comfortable as he reached the end of his life - in his own home with his family, and in the cricket club with his second family."

Gillian said she would like her brother to be remembered for "all the positive things" he had achieved in his life.

"He has inspired so many people and he shouldn't be forgotten. He has left a great legacy," she added.

Club member John Stewart, an Ulster Unionist MLA, described his late friend as "inspirational".

"Gordon had been through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and he had also underwent an operation which removed 75% of the tumour . Sadly, they couldn't get it all," he explained.

"I saw him on Saturday and it was a massive shock to hear he had passed away on Monday.

"He was a talented cricketer, massively popular. He was always smiling. He had just turned 40 when he was diagnosed, but he never complained. He was an inspiration."

Carrickfergus Cricket Club expressed its "complete devastation" on the death of its "much-loved president".

Extending its sympathies to his family, the club said: "The word legend is often used but rarely warranted, but the term could not be more apt for Gordon.

"He continued to play until June 18, 2016, when his onfield collapse at Muckamore sadly ended his cricket career with the grim diagnosis of a brain tumour.

"Gordon was elected as the club's president at the 2016 annual general meeting, a position he still held with great pride at the time of his sad passing.

"Gordy loved life and his enthusiasm, even when he was feeling poorly, was an inspiration to everyone who met him and those of us lucky enough to have spent some wonderful evenings in his company.

"The club has been inundated with messages of condolence from Gordy's friends from all over the world and we would like to thank each and every one of you for your kind thoughts.

"Gordy had expressed his wishes that he wanted to fundraise in aid of Brainwaves NI. RIP Gordy. We will miss you terribly."

A celebration of Mr Browne's life will be held in the clubhouse at 5.30pm this evening. To donate to Brainwaves NI, visit Gillian Hunt's page on Justgiving.com.

Belfast Telegraph

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