PIRATES legend Ken Middleditch has passed away overnight, the club has confirmed.

Born in 1925, he was synonymous for his impressive Poole performances throughout the 1950s, having guided the Wimborne Road side to the first division of British speedway for the inaugural time in their history.

Ken secured the highest average and top points scorer totals for Pirates on five separate occasions during the decade.

The club icon made 385 league and cup appearances for Poole in total and is currently seventh in club’s all-time scorers list, with a total of 2,962.5 points.

Having also had a spell as team manager of Pirates in 1966, Ken spent a great deal of his retirement renovating vintage motorcycles at his workshop in Sturminster Marshall.

His son Neil went on to represent the club and is still team manager – meaning the Middleditch name has been associated with Pirates for more than 70 years.

A statement from Poole Speedway said: “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Poole Speedway legend Ken Middleditch.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Neil and the Middleditch family.

“Rest in peace Ken.”

A post on Neil Middleditch’s Twitter account read: “It is with a heavy heart I have to tell you we lost my wonderful father Ken tonight peacefully in his sleep, reunited with his beloved wife Bridget.

“Sleep well dad till we meet again xx.”