A CRICKET club and the local community are joining forces to raise funds to fulfil the dreams of a “massive” supporter.

Tony Haydock, from Blackrod, died suddenly at his home on February 25, aged just 54.

Mr Haydock had been following Horwich RMI Cricket Club for years, doing everything he could for the club, helping to run it, despite not officially being on the committee.

His two sons, Lewis and Marcus, now play for the club’s first team.

Club secretary, Stuart Leigh, described Mr Haydock’s loss as “huge” for the club, with many from the community and the club wanting to come together to pay a proper tribute to him.

Mr Haydock always had the ambition to build an outside bar/patio area at the club so they could accommodate more people at the game, with the club raising money towards making this ambition come true after his death.

Mr Leigh said: “Tony really was a massive loss to the club.

“We’d always wanted a proper outside bar but never gone through with it because of a lack of funds, but it was always Tony’s biggest wish for the club.

“It was so long not getting a bar that he built one in his own house. You could always rely on Tony, he wanted to do anything he could to help, he was just such a big part of the club ­— absolutely everyone knew him.

“He brought his kids Lewis and Marcus here years ago to start playing and they’re both big parts of the first team now too.

“We haven’t won the Bolton League since 1983 and we haven’t won the cup since 1955. He always really wanted us to win these again and we’ve had a really good start to the year in both so if we can do that this year that would be a perfect tribute for him.

“We’re so pleased with the support we’ve got for the new outside patio bar fundraiser too. People in Horwich know he was such a big part of the club and the community.”

A fundraiser set up by Mr Leigh soon after Mr Haydock’s death to build a bar in his memory has currently raised £7,370.

Town councillor and friend of the club, Cllr Steven Chadwick, has also set up a fundraiser for the bar, which will include him walking the length of the Leeds to Liverpool canal towards the end of June. Mr Leigh said many of Horwich’s players hope to join him along the way.

Cllr Chadwick said: “I just think clubs like HRMI survive due to the efforts of people like Tony and Stuart and if there more people like them the world would be a better place.

“When you compare the people at the cricket to what happened with the football recently, it’s important to do what we can to ensure it survives.

“I never heard a bad word said about him. It’s a cliche but it’s true. I didn’t know him that well but what I did know I liked immensely.

“Help make Tony’s vision a reality and let’s get this new facility built for our town’s community club.”

The club with the family are also planning a charity match at the end of June to raise funds towards this, as well as other events.

Stuart added: “Steve didn’t know Tony too well but he knew the work he did for the club and the town and the walk is an amazing idea we all hope to be involved with at some point.

“It’s great of him to take the time from his busy schedule to do this pretty huge walk so we want to thank him for that.”

Tony leaves behind his two sons, Marcus and Lewis, as well as his wife, Justine.

To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/horwichrmioutdoorbar