Friends and family remember Ian Folley on 25th anniversary of tragic death

Ian at the crease.
Ian at the crease.
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Today, August 30th, marks the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of Burnley-born professional cricketer Ian Folley, who died under anaesthetic whilst undergoing routine surgery.


A hugely talented athlete, Ian took 287 wickets at an average of 32.60 with his left-arm spin during a nine-year First Class career which at one point saw him on the brink of selection for the England Test team under Graham Gooch.

Ian Folley in his bowling action.

Ian Folley in his bowling action.

Ian suffered a cut to his eye whilst batting for Cumbrian side Whitehaven Cricket Club in 1993, and later died whilst under anaesthetic at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle where he was undergoing surgery for a perforated eyeball, leading his father, Jim, to embark on a five-year battle to get the hospital to accept negligence, which they eventually did, issuing a public apology and acceptance of liability.

"I can close my eyes and remember the day [Ian died] like it was yesterday," said Jim. "He went out to bat and I said 'why haven't you put your helmet on?' and he said 'best wicket of the year dad, it's a cracking wicket.'

"The cricket accident didn't contribute to his death at all, it was a mistake by the hospital," he added. "I can't undo that because it was all over in a second or two. Very sad.

"He was well-liked and a well-loved lad," continued Jim, for whom it was six years after his son's death before he could visit another cricket ground. "He was a character; you don't play at Lancashire for nine years with the likes of Clive Lloyd, David Lloyd, and all that lot without - you develop as a man very quickly.

"I'll be going to put some flowers at his grave and spend a few hours with his brother and get through the day."