A celebrated cricketer and coach described as one of the most popular players in the amateur game has died.

Eaton Swaby, who had a cricketing career at Sutton and Mitcham cricket clubs spanning three decades, died at his home in Hawthorne Close, Sutton, on February 9 aged 85.

Originally from Jamaica, the fast bowler joined Mitcham in 1957 and played regularly for twenty one seasons during which time he took over 1300 wickets, with 1000 of these taken in 1st XI matches.

In 1973, aged 46, he was the Surrey Championships highest wicket taker with 66 wickets.

At the age of 51 he joined Sutton cricket club, where he defied his age to continue to play top cricket, while also helping to coach hundreds of young players in the club’s junior sides, the Colts.

He is credited with transforming the youth set-up at the club.

His friend, and former captain at Sutton, Neil Clark said: "He is a legend of Surrey cricket.

If you went into any bar in those cricket clubs they would have heard of him."

"He was full of character. In a different era he probably would have been a professional, but he didn’t move here until he was 30."

He added: "He touched the lives of many hundreds of young cricketers, some have gone on to represent and even captain Sutton Cricket Club and some were it not for him may not have played this great game at all, what is certain is that each and every one of them is better off for having known him."

A former electrician at Banstead Hospital , he published an autobiography called the Firing Line.

He is pictured on the cover playing cricket with his grandson.

His daughter Michelle Swaby, said:"Everyone knows him for cricket but was also a wonderful father. As a man he was absolutely hilarious."

He showed great strength in fighting back from a first stroke nine years ago, but had deteriorated since he had a second stroke last year, and had spent more and more time in hospital.