Len's memories of The Hurricane

RETIRED snooker referee Len Ganley said the world will never see the likes of Alex Higgins again.

The Lurgan man said he was with 'The Hurricane' the weekend before his death at an exhibition of snooker legends.

Two-time world champion Higgins died in his Belfast home on Saturday. The 61-year-old will be remembered for his world titles and hell raising antics.

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Len, one of the world's best referees, said he was proud to have been with Higgins during his hey days and right up to the end. He said: "I was there in '72 and in '82 when he won the world championship and there will only ever be the one Alex Higgins - he was a legend.

"People don't remember the Alex who defeated Stephen Hendry, despite a broken leg.

"That was the gift the man had that it still shone through - he was a different class."

Len had worked with Alex on many occasions throughout his illustrious career. He said the '82 semi final was one of the greatest games in the Hurricane's career.

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"He beat Jimmy White potting four reds off the cushion to make a break of 69 - it was incredible, you'll never see that again. Or in '83 when Steve Davies and Alex were both at their peak and Higgins beat him - he was seven nil down and went on to win 16 to 15 in a two day game.

"Alex had it in him, he was nearly a champion jockey and only when that didn't work out did he pick up the cue."

Len went on: "He had that stubborn streak, but he loved it and one of the things many people won't know was the amount of money he raised for charity. Alex and I did over 40 exhibition matches for charity in a year and he was a big draw making millions for so many good causes.

"He managed to make it down to a recent legends exhibition but unfortunately he was unable to play, it was obvious he was near the end.

"But he had an unbelievable 61 years and achieved so much.

"They always said George Best was the footballer, but Alex was the entertainer."