The death of Sir Everton Weekes has saddened his many friends in Northern Ireland and brought back memories of his visits here.

Sir Everton died in his native Barbados at the age of 95. The master batsman was the last of the famous “Three Ws”: Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Weekes, all knights of the realm who together electrified world cricket immediately after the Second World War. They will now be buried side by side in the West Indian island of their birth.

Sir Everton began his close relationship with Northern Ireland when the late Belfast Telegraph sports editor, Malcolm Brodie, met him while on annual holiday in Barbados.

It was the start of a long friendship which saw Sir Everton visit Northern Ireland on a number of occasions, including celebrations of his 70th birthday and his knighthood.

His last visit was in 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of North Down Cricket Club, a leading light of which was his other close link to Northern Ireland.

Clarence Hiles had been chairman of the Northern Cricket Union before leaving Comber for Barbados where he became a close friend of Sir Everton. More than 300 people attended the anniversary bash at which Sir Everton’s presence was the icing on the cake.

Clarence Hiles with Sir Everton Weekes

I was one of a small committee under Malcolm Brodie which organised his longest visit in 1995. It was a week long trip during which he attended club functions such as South African Russell Adams’ farewell as Instonians’ player/ coach and was a guest at North Down’s Irish Cup final win over Bready at their home ground in Comber.

The cricket outing he enjoyed most was a coaching session at the Muckamore club, fit and keen at 70. The Muckamore pro at the time - pretty certain it was New Zealander Keith Enoka - asked Sir Everton if he would cast an eye over his batting. Keith told me afterwards it was the most valuable half an hour he’d ever spent on a cricket ground.

The highlight of the 1995 visit was a black-tie dinner to mark his knighthood with three local knights of the realm on the guest list - two former heads of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir David Fell and Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, and the head of the Army here at the time, Sir Roger Wheeler. The late EDR Shearer did the honours with a warm tribute and Sir Everton took from the dinner a portrait sketched by the late Rowel Friers which was to become a prized possession.

The hospitality Sir Everton received from his friends in Northern Ireland was freely reciprocated at his home in the Christ Church area of Barbados. I can testify to visits by the likes of Roy Torrens, Alfie Linehan , Brian Walsh and Ivan Lapsley.

And it was here that this remarkable self educated man would display his passion for jazz: not on the record player, rather relaxed on his piano stool playing his repertoire of standards. But then nothing would surprise you about a man who was a dual international, having represented Barbados at bridge. No wonder then that the “Three Ws” Stand at his beloved Kensington Oval cricket ground and even a busy roundabout on the island see to it that his name will never be forgotten.

I’ve had the pleasure of Sir Everton’s company in “his” stand on a number of occasions and the game which gave us the greatest pleasure was the Ireland v Bangladesh World Cup Super 8 tie in 2007. Ireland were to win by 74 runs: he was the happiest non Irish person in the ground.

Apart from his piano playing, the other delight of the Weekes’ home was the room set aside for his memorabilia. It contained a photograph of him as a youth in what he called “the white man’s club” in Barbados. He told me he was allowed to field and bowl. But not bat. It’s why he called Tests against England “more than cricket matches.”

All sorts of priceless memorabilia peppered the room, not least a reminder of a record set over 70 years ago that still stands today: the bat that hit five successive Test centuries in 1948. He was run out in the 90s going for his sixth.

And above the door as you leave the room, his memory of Northern Ireland: that caricature by Rowel Friers.

Sir Everton Weekes by Rowel Friers

I last saw Sir Everton in the “Three Ws” in January when Ireland gave the West Indies a real run for their money. He had been suffering failing health but the mind remained sharp.

The chat was of Northern Ireland.