Norman Gifford said that Tom Graveney's arrival at Worcestershire had a massive impact on his own career.

Former Worcestershire skipper Gifford was amongst those who took part in a tribute to Tom in a Service of Thanksgiving at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon along with Sir Michael Parkinson CBE, Sir Tim Rice, Tom's nephew David Graveney OBE and Tom's son Tim Graveney.

Ex England spinner Gifford, who ended his career with 2,068 first class wickets, said: "I think from my point of view it made a difference at the start of my career with Tom Graveney arriving at Worcestershire.

"He was a prodigious practicer. When he practiced, he practiced properly. He had a net as if it was a Test match – and he practiced every single day.

"As long as the nets were fit, he never missed having a knock every morning. I used to make sure that I could bowl at him and you knew if you bowled well at him for 20 minutes, then you'd be alright to go into the middle because there weren't many around better than Tom.

"You look back on your career and I think spending a lot of time bowling at him in the nets improved me as a bowler.

"When you look at his record it stands up with anybody's and, don't forget, most of his career was played on uncovered wickets.

"Tom knew the game as well. If you wanted to know anything that had happened five, ten years ago, ask Tom and he would tell you who got runs, wickets, what the result was.

"He was like an encyclpedia. You didn't need Wisdens when you had got Tom in the dressing room."

Gifford was unsurprised by the Cathedral being packed for the Service Of Thanksgiving. He said: "I thought there would be a big turn-up – and rightly – so although sadly a lot of people Tom played with have passed away now."