New gravestone for Sussex's most successful sportsman Tommy Cook

Full report by Malcolm Shaw.

A new gravestone was dedicated for Sussex cricket and footballing icon Tommy Cook at Cuckfield Cemetery this morning. He was a huge star for Brighton and Hove Albion and Sussex County cricket club

He was born in 1901 in Cuckfield, where his parents ran a shop. He showed early promise as a footballer and was only 12 when he started playing for Cuckfield Football Club.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy during World War One and was awarded a gallantry medal for rescuing a shipmate from the waters off the Russian port of Archangel.

In August 1921 Tommy joined Brighton and Hove Albion.

209

Appearances for Brighton and Hove Albion

114

League goals

8

Hat-tricks

He was capped for England in 1925, unheard of for a player in such a low division - as it would be today.

Tommy wanted to keep fit during the football off season, and to supplement his modest club wages, so he turned to cricket, where his athletic skills were no less impressive. After only one game for Cuckfield Second XI, he was invited to play for Sussex.

20,000

Runs scored for Sussex County Cricket Club

32

Centuries scored for Sussex County Cricket Club

He was considered very unlucky not to have played for England. He retired from his sporting career at the age of 36.

He was a hero in both world wars, first in the Royal Navy, where he was decorated, then in the South African Air Force, where he sustained serious injuries in 1943.

He eventually returned to England and briefly managed Brighton. However soon became physically and mentally ill and separated from his wife. He committed suicide a month before his 49th birthday