FAMILY, friends and the cricketing community came together to pay respects to the wife of a Worcestershire cricketing legend whose presence has been felt in the city for more than 50 years.

Naomi D’Oliveira, who was at the side of Basil throughout a huge scandal in the 1960s was laid to rest at a packed Worcester Crematorium yesterday.

Father Hugh Sinclair, who led the service, described Mrs D’Oliveira as a “lovely lady whose company was a joy to share” who would have been completely overwhelmed by the large turnout.

“I will always remember her as gracious, friendly, always welcoming and full of generosity and I’m sure that’s how most will remember her,” he added.

Mother of Damian who also played for the county and died in 2014, the D’Oliveira family has been synonymous with Worcestershire CCC for more than 50 years. This was recognised by the many players - both past and present - in attendance.

Cricketing ability was not confined to the men and Father Sinclair recalled how Mrs D’Oliveira loved sport, particularly cricket and hockey – with an ability in the latter that could have been international level – and taught son Shaun how to play.

As a dinner lady at Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School in Worcester she helped establish a formidable cricket team led by Shaun that found inter-school tournament success.

Father Sinclair added: “She was a loving and dedicated mother. She was always there for the children as Basil was so often away.

“She was very proud of her sons and took much joy in following the progression of her grandchildren.”

Former neighbour Tony Emery said Mrs D’Oliveira was a wonderful person and a fantastic neighbour.

He said: “I always remember her giving me a wave whenever I walked past and she was so welcoming, she would always be inviting you in for a cup of tea and a cake. I will really miss her.”

Mrs D’Oliveira married Basil in 1960, they settled in Worcester from 1964 and were together until his death in November 2011, aged 80.

Mr D’Oliveira made headlines when the 1968 tour of South Africa – where he was born – had to be called off after the apartheid regime refused to allow a non-white player into the country.

Mrs D’Oliveira died at St Richard’s Hospice aged 84.