Tributes to teacher and record-breaking cricketer

John  'Jack' McCann, former Preston schoolmaster and cricket ace
John 'Jack' McCann, former Preston schoolmaster and cricket ace
Have your say

Tributes have been paid to a popular former schoolteacher and record-breaking cricketer who has died.

John ‘Jack’ McCann died in the care of The Little Sisters of The Poor in Fulwood at the age of 95.

The father-of-seven, granddad to 17 and great-grandfather to 11, was born and raised in Preston, attending English Martyrs Boys School and the former Preston Catholic College and during his 34 years as a teacher ended up going back to both.

During his time as a games master at English Martyrs he gained his FA referee and coaching certificates and went on to receive the MCC coaching certificate.

A devoted family man, youngest daughter Helen Kellet said he played in several local teams, adding: “In 1955 he was invited to captain the Preston Cricket Team in the Palace Shield.

In the first five matches he took a hat-trick, scored his first century and on Whit Monday, against Blackpool, he took the first nine wickets.

“In the last game of the season, against Stanley (who were the champions), dad took their last wicket to complete his 100 wickets in a season. This achievement of 100 wickets in a season in the Palace Shield has only been achieved twice, the first time was in 1932, last time was dad’s record in 1955, and no-one has ever matched it since.”

Grandson Rory has continued the cricketing tradition and is senior coach as well as a player at Vernon Carus in Penwortham and is still trying to match his grandad’s bowling record!

Mr McCann had a distinguished army career. A territorial before the second World War, he was called to active service and spent four years in the Middle East with the Royal Artillery and eventually rejoined the Loyal RA, in Palestine.

He took his late wife Joan back to The Holy Land after his retirement. The couple celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1995, Joan died 1998.

A devout Roman Catholic he was awarded the papal Benemerenti Award for service to the Church.

Requiem Mass was held at English Martyrs on Friday.