For one of Essex’s oldest groundsmen cricket is more of a religion than a sport.

On Saturday Brian Firmin celebrated his 80th birthday with more than 75 current and former players of Halstead Cricket Club.

Described as a “stalwart” of the club he has been an integral part of the organsation for more than 50 years from when he first began umpiring games and took over as the grounds keeper in the 1980s.

Speaking about his dedication Mr Firmin, of Trinity Court, Halstead said: “I have always lived here and am a fan of cricket."

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