Shropshire Star

Tributes to cricket umpire and disability champion John McIntear who has died aged 62

Cricket umpire and disability champion John McIntear, who used a bespoke motorised wheelchair to help him continue in the sport he loved, has died.

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John McIntear, at St. George's Cricket Club, Telford

Tributes have been made to Mr McIntear, 62, from Madeley, Telford, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2018.

He was determined to continue his umpiring career despite his diagnosis which meant he could not stand for long periods.

Mr McIntear launched a fundraising campaign with the help of the Royal British Legion and others to allow him to buy a powered wheelchair to help him continue in the sport he loved.

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm veteran, of Madeley, Telford, was awarded grant funding by the Royal British Legion, other military charities and Motability towards the cost and van adaptations.

The wheelchair was first used in September 2020 – and he then continued to umpire on cricket fields across Shropshire.

This in turn inspired him to create his Sports Officiating from a Powered Wheelchair campaign (SOPW) which he launched just a fortnight ago with a special T20 game between the Shropshire Pirates and Shropshire United at St Georges CC with him umpiring.

John McIntear got his new wheelchair in September last year

He said his aim was to show that disability should be no bar to officials continuing to be fully involved with any sport – with his campaign aiming to encourage sporting organisations to fund powered wheelchairs for their disabled officials.

At the end of last month he was appointed as Match Manager and Referee for the ECB Disability Premier League.

Cricket Shropshire Chairman Adrian Collins said: “Everyone at Cricket Shropshire is saddened to hear of John’s death.

“He has been a true inspiration with his efforts first to raise funds to continue his umpiring career and then launching SOPW. His enthusiasm and drive have been infectious, getting so many people involved.”

“Our condolences go to all his family and friends, he will be sorely missed in the cricket family in Shropshire.”

Mr McIntear's powered wheelchair campaign was supported by politicians including Telford MP, Lucy Allen.