Tributes have been paid to the sportswriter David Foot, the doyen of West Country sportswriters who has died at the age of 92.
Born in 1929 in the village of East Coker, Foot began his lifelong love affair with journalism in 1945 when he became a trainee copy boy on the Western Gazette. He moved on to the Bristol Evening World and began reporting on cricket but also turning his attention to Bristol City and Rovers.
During a varied writing career Foot was also a theatre critic and a feature writer but will perhaps be remembered most fondly for his appreciation of cricket. He was a regular contributor to the Guardian, reporting from around the grounds on cricket and football while notably crafting some of the most memorable obituaries of sporting greats.
Foot was also known for his books, including biographies on the Somerset batsman Harold Gimblett and Wally Hammond. They were two publications another former Guardian writer Frank Keating described as “imperishable classics in cricket’s canon”.
The Cricket Writers’ Club, announcing his death, described the prolific author Foot as “a wonderful writer and a kind, generous friend to so many”. The Guardian’s rugby correspondent Robert Kitson said: “Never a better West Country sportswriter – or a kinder man.”
The former Guardian cricket writer David Hopps tweeted: “I was proud to work on the Guardian with David Foot, eager to chat with him, happy to drink with him, grateful to laugh with him, enchanted to read him. The Bard of the West Country. ‘Don’t call me that,’ he’d say with a twinkle. He thought he was fortunate, but we were fortunate.”
Mike Selvey, the former Guardian cricket correspondent, described him as “such a brilliant writer on cricket and the arts. And the kindest, most gentle of men”.