Hundreds of tributes have been paid to a ‘well loved’ cricket player and teacher who died suddenly.
Andrew Smalley passed away at his Heritage Drive home in Clowne on the 9th December, due to a blood clot to his lung.
The 35-year-old was a popular figure in his home village where he played for Clowne Town Cricket Club, and hundreds have taken to his Facebook page to leave tributes.
This week his devastated parents were struggling to come to terms with their loss.
Mum Jean Smalley, of Ridgeway, said; “Andrew was one of the most precious things in my life. He was taken too young and far too soon.”
“Two people died that day, I died with him. I feel like my life has ended,” she added.
She said Andrew, who taught at Eckington School, had an infectious laughter with the biggest smile and cherished his family and friends, in particular his Godson Oliver, friend’s children Rowan and Holly, and fellow cricketer Chris Hendley’s twin boys, Harry and Toby.
Mrs Smalley added: “He was a caring, generous, and wonderful son. He is irreplaceable. Andrew’s memory will live on in our hearts forever.”
Dad Alan Smalley said: “I will treasure the memories we had together for the rest of my life. I will miss talking about Liverpool Football Club and the England cricket team.”
Andrew was an integral part of Clowne Town Cricket Club - playing for the club since he was a teenager.
Club chairman, Mike Cox, said: “Andrew, or Smalls as we knew him, was a talented cricketer with a phenomenal cricket brain. Andrew was a Clowne Town Cricket Club man through and through and served the club as player, coach, captain, committee member, secretary and chairman.”
“To say he will be missed is a massive understatement, the Club lost part of its soul on the 9th December, and it will never be the same again.”
An Australian cricket team wore black armbands at the weekend as a mark of respect - as Australian players had temporarily lived with Andrew while on a player transfer at the Clowne club.
Mr Smalley added: “It just goes to show how well loved he was.”
Headteacher of Eckington School, Patrick Cummings, said: “He was the sort of teacher that went the extra mile. His death has come as a huge shock and he is deeply missed, especially in the English department. The whole school is devastated.”
The funeral takes place on Monday 22nd December at 2.15pm at Clowne Methodist Church, North Road, Clowne. Followed by a cremation at Brimington Crematorium, at 3.30pm. Then a reception at the cricket pavilion High Leys Road, Clowne. Family have asked for donations for a memorial fund in lieu of flowers.