TRIBUTES are being paid to a former cricket player from Basingstoke who has died of Covid-19.

Lee Nurse, who used to play for Basingstoke and North Hants Cricket Club and Berkshire County Cricket Club, died aged 43.

A post on Berkshire County Cricket Club’s website said it was “saddened” to hear the news about its former batsman, who was born in Basingstoke.

Lee made his debut for the club in 1997 and played for them until 2006, playing in nearly 30 championship games.

The 43-year-old was a dad to Rilee.

His great-uncle Seymour Nurse played test cricket for the West Indies, and first-class and List-A cricket for Barbados.

Chairman of Basingstoke and North Hants Cricket Club, Steve Rayner, paid his tribute to Lee, saying: "It is with deep sadness I write this note to let you know that Lee Nurse passed away this morning (9th April) after contracting the Coronavirus.

"Lee was a past club captain and a fine cricketer and will be dearly missed by us all.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his son Rilee, Mum Christine, Dad Leon, brother Dean and family, friends and colleagues."

Fellow cricketer Shaun Udal, who was a member of England’s Test team and who is also from Basingstoke, also paid tribute to Lee, posting on Twitter: “Can’t believe the news of Lee Nurse the little Basingstoke CC legend has passed away, always had time for him and that smile of his, he’ll be missed.”

According to a post on Instagram by Julian Wood, of JWCA Cricket Academy, uploaded yesterday, Lee’s family had been in close contact with him for the last 14 days.

He said: “This is the hardest post I’ve ever had to do. We have been asked by the family, who have been in close contact with us for the last 14 days, to let you all know the very sad and tragic news that our very close friend Lee Nurse passed away.

“After losing his battle with this horrendous virus. As a family we are absolutely devastated, totally numb. When I sit back and think of the years we played together, it was an absolute honour to have taken the field with him, I find myself smiling as we had such a great time not only on the field but off it.

“He was small in stature, but huge in character, my god we had some laughs. They’re stories that will be told for years to come, the best era I played in due to his and others strong infectious characters. Feel privileged to have known you.”

Odiham Cricket Club also paid tribute on Twitter saying: “Please accept our condolences on the loss of a true great of your club, Lee Nurse. Thinking of you all at this sad time.”