A PEDMORE cricketer's devastated father has told of the moment his son's life ended as he played the sport he loved.
Richard Beaumont collapsed while fielding during a match between Pedmore Cricket Club's first team and Astwood Bank CC on Saturday August 4.
The 33-year-old's father, Bob Beaumont, was just yards away watching the game, at the Pedmore club's ground on Pedmore Hall Lane, when the popular player suffered a suspected cardiac arrest.
Mr Beaumont, aged 66, said: "He came over to field and I gave him a drink, he stepped away and said "Dad I'm going to faint" and he went down.
"He was put in the recovery position but I believe he was dead within minutes, they put him in an air ambulance but I knew he was dead."
Pedmore players looked on in horror as medics fought to save their team-mate but he was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital.
Pedmore CC's first team captain, Stuart Bate, said: "It was a harrowing thing to witness, we are completely devastated and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
"He was a popular character who loved the game and the game loved him, he died playing the sport he loved most."
A small remembrance garden now marks the spot where Richard collapsed at the Pedmore ground.
Ironically, the all-rounder, who previously played for Romsley and Hunnington, had just completed his best spell of pace bowling since joining Pedmore's first team last year.
The last of his five-wickets in Saturday's game came with a catch taken by his life-long friend Paul Pickering.
Mr Pickering said: "He was always there for everybody and would always help someone if he could.
"He was the biggest character in the dressing room and the life and soul of the party. He was the main man and will be very sorely missed."
Care worker Richard, from Bromsgrove Street, Halesowen, had been married to Becky for just 15 months.
The former police officer had a four-year-old son from a previous relationship.
His father, himself a cricket umpire, had been due to officiate at another ground on Saturday but an administrative error meant he was not needed and had decided to watch Richard play instead.
Bob Beaumont is already planning to set up a charity to help young cricketers in Richard's memory and he takes comfort from being close to his son as the tragedy unfolded.
He said: "I am grateful it's my words he would have heard last of all.
"Richard was full of fun and loved sport, he was a go-to guy, somebody you could rely on. I never realised he was so popular.
"We are all in bits, things will never be the same but he will never be forgotten."