TREVOR Bailey’s family say they have been moved by the huge outpouring of love for the Essex and England cricket legend.

A year ago today, Trevor died when his toaster caught fire at the retirement flat where he lived with beloved wife Greta, in Alston Court, just off Crowstone Road, Westcliff.

It engulfed the flat with smoke as 87-year-old Trevor made breakfast.

His eldest son, Kim Bailey, and daughter, Sharon Rowlingson, have spoken of their pride at knowing their dad, who played 61 Test matches for England between 1949 and 1959, was so fondly thought of by so many.

Since Trevor’s death tributes have poured in from all over the country, including from people like cricket-loving former Prime Minister John Major.

Sharon said: “It’s been lovely to see dad was so highly regarded by all those people who came out to say such kind things about him.

“He was a very special man to us and we are really proud of him, but seeing others talk about him like they have is quite special.”

Kim also thanked Essex County Cricket Club and said they did his dad proud with the tributes they’ve led since his death.

He said: “The whole team turned out suited and booted to Chelmsford Cathedral for a memorial service.

“A lot of the current players wouldn’t have known much about dad, but it was good to see them there.”

Sharon added: “Dad was always 100 per cent Essex and Westcliff.

“He probably would not have wanted all this fuss made about him. But he would have been pleased with the scholarship scheme his old school, Alleyn Court, has started in his name, as he got in on a similar basis.

“It is a great honour for our family to think a scholarship named after him will be able to help talented young athletes and academics in the future.”

Born in Westcliff on December 3, 1923, Trevor lived in the town all his life.

Kim said his dad had “enormous loyalty” to the area, particularly with the club where he first played cricket.

He added: “He learnt his craft at Westcliff Cricket Club and visited Chalkwell Park right up until his death. He also visited the bar there a lot, which is now named after him. He always lived within stumbling distance of the club!”

His children described their father, whose ashes were scattered at the local cricket club, as a modest man who never liked to talk about his sporting successes.

Sharon said: “He was a bit of a funny mixture, really. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, but never got too angry.

“He was a bit of a pushover really, but then again I was his favourite as the baby of the family. Maybe that’s why he might have seemed like a big softy. We were always a very close-knit family, which was really good to be part of.”

Sharon said it only after his death that she realised just what a remarkable sportsman he had been.

She said: “I knew he was good at cricket and football, but after he died I found out he was also decent at squash, badminton and table tennis, so he was obviously a very talented sportsman. Anything with a ball he was good at.”

Kim remembered his dad hitting a hole in one during a celebrity golf day.

He said: “Dad played this tournament in Bishop’s Stortford, where he was part of a trio of players. On a par three, the other two hit their tee shots on the green and set off after them.

“Then dad hit his tee shot. When they reached the green, the other two started high-fiving because it had gone straight in the hole.

“Normally a golfer who does this has to buy everyone in the clubhouse a drink. But dad was worried about people drinking and driving, so he donated a Marylebone Cricket Club overseas tour blazer instead!”

The family say they have no further plans to commemorate their beloved father.

Sharon said: “I have been meaning to go through his old momentos, but I’ve not been able to bring myself to do it. Maybe now, though, I’ll be able to look through them.”