A MULTI-TALENTED sportsman who represented Wiltshire at cricket, raced cars and played rugby has died after battling multiple sclerosis for 25 years.

Nick Newman, 54, managed to sandwich Formula Ford racing against the likes of Eddie Jordan between playing cricket for Malmesbury in the summer and rugby for Minety in the winter.

Motor racing was his passion, but after achieving good results and dealing with a few scrapes, he had to give up because of a lack of sponsorship and the financial demands of the sport.

He went on to work for the Carphone group and managed many international cricketers during his career.

Nick, whose family ran the former Newmans abattoir, which made national headlines in 1998 when Tamworth pigs Butch and Sundance escaped, was born in Malmesbury Hospital and went to the Athelstan School, Filands School, Stouts Hill and then Wycliffe College before starting work at his uncle’s jewellery shop in Cirencester.

But he left to join the meat business because he missed playing sport on a Saturday afternoon.

A keen shooter and skier, he was also an enthusiastic footballer for the cricket club on Sunday mornings . Known as a fine seam bowler, he played minor counties cricket for Wiltshire. It was during matches that he found himself beginning to struggle with co-ordination and after a battery of tests and scans he was diagnosed with the disease, which affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

His brother Jeremy said: “Nick married shortly after his diagnosis and had two daughters, Nicola and Ruth who made him so proud. Despite his obvious ill health he was still determined to attend Nicola's graduation day which sadly will not now be.”

Some years later he advertised in The Lady for a carer and met Marion who has been his partner for the past 17 years .

Jeremy said his brother mentioned on many occasions that he would have struggled to cope without her love and support.

“Nick was cheeky to his carers who by his own admission needed a good sense of humour to go with his own. Despite many challenges he always kept his dignity and never lost his sense of humour. Frustration was his biggest challenge as he just could not do anything for himself, having to rely on his wonderful caring team.

“He must be an inspiration to all of us lucky enough to have known him, just for the sheer fact that he was a fighter, never giving up, even to the end.

A funeral service will be held at St Giles Church, Lea on March 14 at 11.30am.