It was with great sadness that the cricket community in South Wales heard of the death of Ken James, after a courageous and determined fight against cancer, on Sunday 23rd September, 2012, aged just 68 years. He is survived by his widow Jayne, two children and four grand children.
Born in Llanelli, Ken moved to Gowerton after his marriage and spent many years of his working life in engineering before becoming a driver for the local ambulance service. Ken became actively involved in several aspects of sporting life in the village of Gowerton. He played rugby for the local club, serving on both the rugby and cricket Committees. Ken also became secretary of Gowerton Athletic Club.
After his rugby days, Ken developed a love for cricket and he will be best remembered as a leading light in the umpiring fraternity in South Wales. Initially, he had stood as an umpire for the Gowerton third eleven but later felt the need to develop further his cricketing knowledge by attending regular umpire meetings, eventually qualifying as a Full Member of ACU&S in 1989. Ken was a very active member of the Llanelli branch of ACU&S and later ECBACO, where he acted as Secretary and also an umpires’ instructor. Even when Ken was ill, he still found the strength to attend meetings, where his advice and knowledge was always welcomed.
Ken was a familiar and highly respected figure amongst umpires and players. He officiated at all major matches organised by the W.C.A. and the S.W.C.A., be they local cup finals, both senior and junior, or Welsh Cup and the Triple Crown Trophy. He toured the Southern Hemisphere with the S.W.C.A. and also Barbados and Spain with the Wales senior team.
He always gave freely of his time to all levels of cricket, such was his love for the game. It is an understatement to say he will be greatly missed by his family, friends, umpiring colleagues and all those who were privileged to know him.
Summers will never be the same for cricket in South Wales.