Ballarat is mourning the loss of one of its most influential and well respected sporting stalwarts.
Len Dunkley-Smith was a legend of both Ballarat cricket and basketball until his peaceful death on Friday.
In the local cricketing world, Mr Dunkley-Smith helped shaped the Ballarat Cricket Association and the Victorian Country Cricket League into what they are today.
He is a life member of both associations, in 1981 for the VCCL and 1985 for the BCA.
Mr Dunkley-Smith was a founding director of the BCA in 1950 and secretary for 25 years, Ballarat Country Week organiser for 23 years, VCCL Zone representative for more than 17 years and a member of the Appeals Committee.
His service to cricket complemented a long playing career dating back to before WWII and included stints in the Churches Association, the Industrial association, the Ballarat Cricket League and the BCA.
When looking at his achievements on the hardwood, chief executive officer of the Ballarat Basketball Association Peter Eddy could not have spoken more fondly of Mr Dunkley-Smith.
“The best way I could describe him is he was always a terrific gentleman,” he said.
“He was a typical referee, very strong and firm with a booming voice.
“As a player I had many games refereed by Mr Dunkley-Smith, he was the sort of person that commanded the respect of those he was sharing the court with.”
He refereed for over 20 years before moving into an administrative role within the association.
“The role he played was vitally important for the growth of the association,” Mr Eddy said.
“It was through the work and the vision he and his fellow association members had that served as the biggest contributor to building the organisation into what is is today.
“Every young person playing basketball in Ballarat today has benefited from his dedication and passion for the sport.”
Even as his health deteriorated, Mr Dunkley-Smith’s love for both cricket and basketball held strong.
“To see him come out to the Minerdome last September for the NBL Blitz and see the great basketball being played was amazing.
“It was an absolute pleasure to know him – he is a great loss to the association and to the community.”
The family has requested privacy during this period.