Village cricket legend dies after long illness

A funeral service was held at St Jude & St Simon Church in East Dean on Monday for former village resident Rex Roberts who died recently after a long illness.

Rex was born in Highbury, London in 1939 and went to school at St Michael’s Prep in Limpsfield – along with his brother Guy.

The brothers later boarded at Eastbourne College before Rex went on to Dundee University to study Advanced Mathematics, before taking a Masters in Statistics.

Mr Roberts’ family had moved to East Dean in 1953 when his mother Nellie was appointed head of the village school.

On returning to the area Rex’s career was spent as a maths master and he served for many years at Claremont private school in St Leonards and later at St Bede’s.

In 1971 he was inspired to volunteer to teach at a school in Kenya where he stayed for three or four years.

He returned to teach there a few years later and also travelled to Botswana – his work oversees lasting almost a decade.

But his first love was always cricket and he played many roles for East Dean Cricket Club.

He wads primarily a wicketkeeper on the field and also organised the fixtures for a number of years.

He either umpired, scored or played for the East Dean Club for the best part of 50 years and was very well-known in cricketing circles in the Eastbourne area.

He became poorly with bowel cancer in 2007 and underwent major surgery.

He made a partial recovery but spent the remaining years of his life being well cared for at Hailsham House Nursing Home.

Warm tributes were paid to Rex at the funeral by his niece Alison and he was then buried at the East Dean church cemetery alongside his mother Nellie.