TRIBUTES to Tony Drake have flooded in from the local sporting fraternity following his sudden death last Thursday.

The 57-year-old was out jogging near his home in Lower Earley when he collapsed and died from a heart attack.

Married to Debbie and a father-of-three, he was heavily involved with a number of clubs.

He was on the board of Berkshire County Cricket Club and development officer of Finchampstead CC, in addition to being closely involved with the growth of North Maidenhead CC, having played for them and later becoming chairman.

Tony was a keen football fan, regularly attending games at Reading FC, Binfield FC and Maidenhead United FC.

He was a Shinfield Running Club member and regularly took part in the parkrun series at Woodley with more than 50 runs to his credit.

Wife Debbie said she and her family had taken great comfort from the number of messages and tributes they have received, adding: "Tony was at the heart of the community and will be truly missed by many."

They have daughters Rebecca, who is 26, Emily, 19, and 23-year-old son Robert.

Tony was educated at St Mary's RC Junior School in Maidenhead and Desborough School before attending Reading College of Technology.

He began a career in finance in 1979 with the Prudential before moving to Norwich Union where he stayed until 1996. He then worked as an adviser and sales director for an advisory business for 21 years before joining the Reading office of LEBC, where he was a team leader and financial planner.

Neil Doody, the Berkshire CCC chairman and Finchampstead CC president, said: "Cricket throughout Berkshire is poorer at the loss of this stalwart of the game."

Graeme Copas, a former sports editor of the Maidenhead Advertiser, said: "I've been in a state of shock and just can't believe Drakey has left us. My friend for more than 40 years and a true confidant. He was a friend to many and a huge supporter of grassroots sport. He was a good man. My condolences to his family."

In a statement, North Maidenhead CC said: "Tony was a friend, a gentleman and loved at our club. Our deepest sympathies to the family and everyone who had the pleasure to know him."

Binfield FC manager Roger Herridge commented: "I am gutted to hear this news. One of the nicest guys you will ever meet."

And Eversley and California FC manager Matty Angell tweeted: "I am really shocked. I worked with Tony, such a lovely guy and will be sorely missed. My thoughts go out to his family."

Wargrave CC secretary Ken Clark has written: "Tony will be remembered for his love and support of grassroots sport."