One of Barnsley’s most famous over 70s admits the measures taken to protect people his age against the coronavirus will lead to a lonely few months but says he is staying positive. 

Former cricket umpire Dickie Bird, who will turn 87 later this month, is set to spend several months confined to his home in Staincross, where he lives alone.  

Dickie said: “I have very kind neighbours who are doing my shopping for me. But I am on my own so it is quite lonely. I am just sitting in the garden when it’s warm enough then in my lounge in front of the TV. It’s just you and the four walls. 

“It is difficult mentally, having no one to keep you company. You just do what you can to make sure you don’t go crackers. All you can do is carry on, and I will be OK. I am doing exercise for 45 minutes every morning. I was worried at first about how I would get the medicine I need but that has been sorted now and I feel a lot better.” 

The cricket season, which was due to start this week, has been postponed until the end of May while the football season has also halted temporarily.  Dickie is an honorary life member and former president of Yorkshire CCC as well as a season ticket holder at Barnsley FC. He said: “Going to Headingley and Oakwell is what keeps me going. That’s where I see a lot of people and spend a lot of my time. I will miss that a lot.” Dickie’s prediction for the 2020 cricket season is bleak. There will be no cricket. We won’t see a ball bowled this summer.

“A lot of people who work for Yorkshire have been ringing me to check I am OK, and they sound quite worried. This will have a big financial impact on Yorkshire and all the other counties. Some of them could go to the wall. It’s very, very bleak. They are hoping to still do the Twenty20 Blast or The Hundred  because they draw the biggest crowds, but I am not sure even that those competitions will happen.”