Respects paid to Reepham-raised cricket lover Mike Rowson – the man who made a difference
Tributes have poured in for a man who made a lifelong impression on thousands of sportsmen and women across Norfolk, Suffolk and beyond.
Hundreds of people have taken to Facebook and Twitter to pay their respects to Mike Rowson, who died on Tuesday aged 72. Many were posted by members of the cricket community while plenty were sent by former pupils of Reepham High School, where the popular figure was a long-serving head of PE.
Rowson's impact extended beyond the counties he went on to call home though with his role as an England junior selector and Northamptonshire talent scout taking his highly-respected cricket coaching abilities across the country.
In October, when it was announced that the former Horsford Cricket Club chairman's health had deteriorated, Adam Hollioake was one of many who offered their well-wishes and will no doubt now be mourning Rowson's passing.
Marcus Wilkinson, current Horsford president, chairman of Reepham Town Football Club and friend of the departed, said: 'Mike really was a lovely fella who was part of a lovely family.
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'I've known him all my life. He coached my son Matthew and lots of other players who went on to represent Norfolk. He really did love his sport and you only need to look at the fact that players like Adam Hollioake and Mark Ramprakash have recently given their regards to Mike to understand how respected he was.
'He turned good cricket players into excellent ones.'
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Rowson spent most of his life working and living in Reepham before moving to Saxmundham about five years ago. He became chairman of that town's club to increase a long list of cricketing roles which saw him enjoy a number of other roles throughout his life, including that of a player as well as umpiring in the Norfolk Alliance.
Current Horsford chairman Steve Read was captain while Rowson held the position he now occupies – a duty he also once took on at Reepham FC.
'If memory serves me correctly he stood down after we won the Carter Cup in 1998,' said Read.
'Mike was an excellent school teacher by trade and he gave everything he did 100pc. He wasn't a disciplinarian, so to speak, but he wanted things done properly. He was respected by so, so many people, including lots of people in the ECB. But you'd never have realised because he was just such a down to earth guy who would never blow his own trumpet.'
Current Norfolk players Sam Arthurton and James Spelman are among a huge crop of outstanding individuals that have benefitted from Rowson's expertise.
Swardeston's George Walker, writing on Twitter, said he was saddened to learn that one of his 'first coaches who was well liked by many' had passed away while Cromer's Chris Carey added that 'The Norfolk cricketing/sporting/education community will be mourning the loss' of an inspirational figure who 'did so much for so many in the county'.
Rowson leaves wife Elizabeth, children Neil and Catherine and grandchildren Rory and Felix.
A funeral and celebration of Mike's life will take place at St John's Church, Saxmundham on Thursday, January 21, at 10.30am. His family ask that no flowers are left, but donations, for St John's Church, if desired, are to be made to Tony Brown's Funeral Service, Saxmundham, IP17 1EH. Attendees are also asked to avoid wearing black with many suggesting online they will don football shirts or the colours of their cricket club.