Its with huge sadness that we report the death of Derek Semmence today, after a long illness.
Our thoughts are with Christine, Mark, Jacquie and all their family.
Words from John Bettridge:
Derek arrived as the cricket professional and head groundsman in 1974 and he retired in 2003. His influence and interest in that time and since has been huge, which is why as the news of his death yesterday spreads, so many of the Hurst community will feel the great sorrow that comes at the loss of a true friend and mentor. Above all Derek was possessed of a gentle, unassuming kindliness that was so freely given. To watch him coach the game he loved, as I did for years, when we shared practices on the North field, matches and Winter net sessions was not only to see real expertise but also the igniting of a passion within the boys. The contacts he had made in years past led to Hurst embarking on pioneering tours to India starting in 1978. There are so many of us who count ourselves remarkably fortunate to have been introduced to that wonderful country and its people by Derek. And for Derek, of course, it was always people first, hence any travellers with him were able to get under the skin of the country by meeting his friends. You see, you were never the conventional tourist viewing all from the outside. With an interest in cricket and Derek, who I always reckoned knew most of the population of the Sub Continent!, as your passports you became part of the tapestry. These tours widened the vision of so many; that is real education.
He was a proud father and devoted grandfather and our sympathy goes to Christine, Mark and Jacqueline and their families.
I am just one of many who will find it hard, at the moment, to realise that the conversations on cricket, Hurst, the Sussex Martlets and India accompanied by the smile and the laugh will be no more. But the memories will never fade, because the star of the truly good burns on. Someone else will, no doubt, write of Derek’s cricketing achievements and the honours given him by various clubs at another time. For the moment I just want to remember the man who was my good friend and to whom, like many others, I am eternally grateful for so much.