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NEWS: John Lees hangs up his microphone


John Lees is presented with a signed shirt by Ben Brown and Chris Nash

After more than 30 years covering Sussex for BBC local radio, John Lees is hanging up his microphone.

To mark John's retirement from broadcasting, he was presented with a shirt signed by the squad before play started on Monday in the Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire.

John commentated on many of the great moments in Sussex's history, including three County Championship titles, one-day success at Lord's and the T20 finals victory in 2009.

He remembers in his first game for BBC Sussex at Taunton watching Garth Le Roux catching Ian Botham and later recalled Viv Richards smashing a ball through the window of the old commentary box at Hove in the Gilligan Stand. Former Sussex chairman Jim May retrieved the ball and auctioned it for charity, still with glass shards embeded in it!

John staged his own personal protest when coloured clothing was introduced for the old Sunday League in the early 1990s - by broadcasting in his purple and pale blue pyjamas!

Adrian Harms, who has succeeded John as full-time Sussex commentator on BBC Sussex, said: "John has been an integral part of Sussex cricket for more than three decades and I know he watched cricket as a Sussex supporter for many years before then.

"He is widely respected on the county cricket circuit and his voice has been a friend to Sussex supporters who couldn't be at the ground for many years. Even when there was no cricket, John could always enliven the commentary with updates on that other passion of his - birdwatching!

"He will be missed by all of us at BBC Sussex and we wish him and his partner Liz a long and happy retirement. I'm sure we will see him at Hove in future watching Sussex."

John will make his final broadcast on BBC Sussex on Saturday morning when he does the breakfast show sports updates.

Everyone at Sussex Cricket wishes him all the best for the future.

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