Players and members of Watford Town Cricket Club have been devastated by the sudden death of Simon Prodger, the club’s chairman.

Simon, who lived in Rickmansworth, died on Saturday, within hours of being admitted to hospital. He was 63.

He had been chairman since 2009 and oversaw the resurgence of the club after some difficult years in the early 2000s.

Simon, who had previously played for Harlow, Hoddesdon and Harefield, had joined Watford Town a few years earlier, finishing his playing days before focussing solely on his administrative activities.

He had worked in publishing but cricket was his passion and he had become managing director of the National Cricket Conference and Club Cricket Conference, which provide great support for recreational cricket. Simon championed that cause tirelessly.

Simon also believed, passionately, that cricket should be a force for good and he sought to make cricket a game for everyone, regardless of their background. He played an important part in establishing the South Asian Cricket Association and African Caribbean Cricket Association, helping to integrate them into cricket’s mainstream.

In addition, he was a driving force behind the East Africa Character Development Trust, a charity bringing hope and opportunity through cricket to thousands of young, disadvantaged Kenyans from slum communities in Nairobi.

As a trustee of the Club Cricket Charity, he was instrumental in securing funding from the ECB, cricket’s national body, to distribute defibrillators to clubs.

Richard Bayliss, vice-chairman at Watford Town, said: “We have all lost a loyal friend and supporter and the game of cricket has lost a very special person.

“Simon always wanted the best for the club and has been at the forefront of our dicussions with Watford Council over the development of the sports facilities at Woodside.

"We will benefit from a new pavilion, under the plans, and it’s so sad that he won’t see the outcome of his hard work, when work is completed in a couple of years time.

"We send our heartfelt sympathies to his wife Lyn and his family.”