FAMILY and friends came together to say farewell to Colin Cairns – one of Wansbeck’s true sporting greats who died recently.
And it was ironic that one of his favourite songs – Three Coins in a Fountain – should be played prior to the funeral service at Whitley Bay Crematorium as Colin had a three-pronged affiliation with sport – cricket, bowls and snooker.
During the service, Peter Hooks, from Ashington Cricket Club, where Colin had been a member for over 50 years, described the former miner as being Ashington’s greatest ever player.
He had been part of a Colliers side which clinched the league championship seven times in 11 seasons from 1959 to 1970.
Mr Hooks added: “In 1959 Ashington won the league for first time in 20 years when they defeated County Club.
“Colin opened the batting and was out with only four runs required.
“In the same season, he broke a club and league record with 172 not out for the second XI against Backworth at Langwell Crescent.”
Cricketing colleagues paid their own tributes.
Arnie Gilholm said: “Colin opened the innings with Rohan Kanhai and in 1965 broke an Ashington opening partnership record with Rohan in a stand of 242, where Colin struck an unbeaten 104.”
George Webster said: “Colin’s analysis of a situation was basic and to the point. There were no frills.”
Brian Keenleyside said: “Colin welcomed me to the cricket club in 1972 and I kept in touch with him towards the end of his life.
“He was a man who played to high standards and represented club and county and was respected in all quarters of Northumberland cricket.”
George Gilroy said: “I umpired with him quite a lot and his work as groundsman at Ashington was immense.”
John Cleverley, secretary of Bowls Northumberland, said: “Colin clinched the over-55’s national indoor pairs for bowls with Harry Mosey six to seven years ago and won the Concordia singles indoor championship more than ten times.”
Bob Dick, a doubles partner with Colin in snooker, said: “Colin was an excellent player and a good colleague.
“We played for Ashington Leisure Centre and Ashington Excelsior, winning the league several times with both, as well as the north east doubles for the Excelsior.
“He was my doubles partner for 25 years and we both played for Northumberland and for the north east side.
“He will be sadly missed.”