HUNDREDS of people gathered for the funeral of a much-loved president of Usk Cricket Club.

St Mary's Church in Usk was packed full of mourners yesterday, who had come to give their final respects to Gerald Kear, who died this month aged 85.

Reverend Graham Opperman officiated and said: "We are all here to remember brother Gerald."

Friend Gwyn Williams delivered the eulogy and described the late Mr Kear as a "loyal man".

"He lived his whole life in Usk apart from during national service," he said.

"He was an extremely loyal man and professional in everything that he did.

"I was privileged to have worked with him for some years. I cannot ever remember him losing his patience.

"He was enormously proud of his family. They have all followed in Gerald's footsteps."

Mr Williams also said that Mr Kear was dedicated to sport.

He said: "It was cricket that played a big part in his life.

"His involvement with Usk Cricket Club lasted a life time.

He added: "Sleep well, Gerald."

Son Tony Kear also paid tribute to his late father, saying: "No-one had a bad word to say about him.

"He was always willing to pass on his advice.

"Usk Cricket Club gave him so much pride. Dad was at the heart of it all."

He added: "We was so proud of his family and looked forward to seeing his grandchildren."

Mr Kear had been associated with Usk Cricket Club for about 72 years.

More recently he had served as president since 2010.

Along with his sister, Joan Tilley, he was involved with the club when it returned to playing after the Second World War.

Specialising as a batsman, but also known for his qualities as a fielder, Mr Kear was captain of the first XI from 1960 to 1963 and 1972 to 1974.

In his first season as captain the club achieved the rare feat of going undefeated for a whole season.

Mr Kear was also captain of the second XI in 1983 before he retired from the club as a player in his 50s.

He was also chairman of the club from 1977 to 1981 and 1986 to 1997 before taking up the presidency in 2010.

Among those he played alongside was Welsh cricketer Allan Watkins who played for England in 15 test matches from 1948 to 1952 and is known as one of Usk's most famous players.

Hymns at the funeral included Abide with me, Love divine and Glory, glory, hallelujah.

Family and friends then made their way to Usk Cricket Club for refreshments.

The family had asked for all donations to be given to North Gwent Cardiac Rehabilitation and Aftercare Charity.