TRIBUTES from across the sporting world have been paid to Lancashire County Cricket Club chairman David Hodgkiss OBE who has died aged 71.

Mr Hodgkiss is thought to be the first individual directly involved in professional British sport to die having tested positive for Covid-19.

The successful industrialist, who was chief executive of Bolton steelmakers William Hare Group, had been on the board at Emirates Old Trafford for 22 years.

Having previously served as treasurer and vice-chairman, he took over from Michael Cairns in April 2017 and was a central figure in the renovation of Old Trafford over the past decade - a period of refurbishment, including the construction of The Point and the raising of £9 million of public funding for the new Hilton hotel.

“Aside from friends and family his passions in life were Lancashire CCC, Bolton Wanderers and Timothy Taylor’s beer,” Reverend Malcolm Lorimer, Lancashire’s club historian and a close friend of Mr Hodgkiss, said.

He first became involved with the Red Rose county in 1996 when he agreed to become chairman of fellow Boltonian and former Lancashire captain Mike Watkinson’s benefit committee.

The pair had worked together at William Hare, where the young Westhoughton cricketer started as a draughtsman after sixth form.

Mr Hodgkiss was a strong supporter of Watkinsons’s career, during which he earned four England Test caps.


“Well, myself and David just seemed to click and got on really well,” Rev. Lorimer said.

“We have since been on holiday together. I went fishing with him in Iceland, where I caught my first and only salmon. Fly fishing was another thing he loved.

“After Mike’s benefit, David stood for the committee in 1998 and asked me to propose him.

“At that stage, the ground was a bit past its sell by date. It was in need of redevelopment, which David would later become an integral part of.

“If you think of what’s happened at the club in the time he’s been involved, the committee moving to a board, the ground redevelopment, he’s played a central part in all of that. He was a towering figure at the club and also well respected by the ECB.

“He was a very unassuming gentleman and had a way of getting on with everybody from the cleaner to the top businessmen. People loved him.

“When he was Mike’s benefit chairman, he was very hands on.

“I will always remember we were going around with the bucket collections during one of the two semi-finals against Yorkshire at Old Trafford in 1996, and David went into where all the Yorkshire supporters were.

“He came out and said, ‘I think I collected 5p and was lucky to get out alive! It didn’t help that whilst I was in there Mike took two wickets, but I enjoyed the banter’. That was him all over.”


Former Red Rose captain Watkinson agreed with Lorimer’s reflection that Hodgkiss was someone who “put 110 percent into life”.

The ex-England all-rounder said: “He just didn’t slow down. He had his fingers in so many pies, including remaining as managing director of William Hare whilst as Lancashire chairman.

“I’ve known him for about 40 years. When I left sixth form and was embarking upon a new career, his company, along with his father Bartle, offered me a job.

“I was still working for the engineering company when I was playing for England. That’s how long I was with them.

“He was a very generous man but a ruthless businessman as well. If you worked for him, you had to be loyal, committed and work hard. If you did that, he would look after you. I think that shone through when he came to Lancashire.

“The majority of people will miss him for what he’s given to Lancashire Cricket Club, but you have to remember his company is one of the world leaders in structural engineering.

“His parents, his sister and himself have driven that business in the same way he has done with the progression of Lancashire.

“Whilst he has friends and adopted family associated with cricket, I would suggest the breadth of feeling at this moment will actually be greater through the structural engineering world.”


Mr Hodgkiss' sister and chairman of William Hare Group, Susan Hodgkiss CBE DL, added: “David will be very sadly missed by the construction world and many others, and our thoughts are with his wife Shirley and family.”