Shepperton show the way
Richard Barker admits he cannot help but give a rollicking to anyone seen scuffing up the pristine changing rooms in the new pavilion at Shepperton Cricket Club in Surrey.
"Even if they scuff up a wall by mistake, I find myself shouting 'Oy!'," said Barker, one of the club's six members who sat on the management committee to oversee the building of the new pavilion and over six months, devoted around 1,500 hours of his spare time to the project.
Each of the six members were equally committed and all of them are equally proud of what the club has achieved. It earned them recognition in the form of a coveted OSCA for NatWest CricketForce and has transformed the club.
The night they sat in the ramshackle old hut back in November 2006 and listened to an inspirational speech from the ECB's Dave Leighton, counts as one of the highlights of the project, Barker recalls.
"It was freezing cold and we were sat in this horrible pavilion but Dave spoke for an hour and told us we could apply for funds from the England and Wales Cricket Trust to assist with building a new pavilion.
"We had been talking about a new pavilion for 10 years. The old one was about 70 years old and had been used as an old army hut during the Second World War and moved to the site at Russell Road.
"It was damp with no heating and no insulation. The ceiling in the changing rooms had collapsed and the wooden floors were rotten. It was a disaster area."
There were around 50 members present at the meeting that night and the decision was taken, there and then and unanimously, to demolish the old pavilion and build a new one.
"The moment we took that decision was one of the most exciting times of the entire project. We had no idea really how much work would be involved but were very excited at the thought of a new pavilion and the effect it would have on the club.
"The moment we saw the new building in place and ready to be fitted out internally was another highlight but there were plenty of depressing times along the way," said Barker.
It took seven weeks to get planning permission and as many hours to organise a 70-strong team to demolish the old pavilion, which came down in February 2007.
"We discovered it had been built on just 20 bricks, literally, which came as a bit of a shock, but as soon as it was down, we started to build a proper set of foundations."
Between February and the official opening in June, including the NatWest CricketForce weekend at the end of March, the Shepperton team worked endlessly to get it completed.
"At the beginning of June, we realised there was still so much to do before the opening and that was probably the most depressing time of the project. I also had to miss some cricket which was awful. I would be in the pavilion laying floors while the first XI were out there playing so that was a bad time too," added Barker, an accomplished all-rounder.
"Had we known how much work was involved, we would probably have never have started. We would certainly never do it again!"
The new pavilion is now host to a range of activities, some of which are adding much needed funds to the club's coffers. Bar takings have increased and when Sky television is installed, they are set to rise further as the pavilion becomes more widely used as a social nub of the Shepperton sporting community.
While around 80 members were involved with the rebuilding of the pavilion, it was the six members of the management committee, which comprised an accountant, a solicitor, builder, insurance broker, IT consultant and office administrator who bore the brunt of the responsibility and invested the most time, energy and passion.
"We worked out that we each gave between 1,000 and 1,500 hours to the project but it was well worthwhile. There is more to do yet - the driveway needs resurfacing but that will be easy. We are incredibly proud but it is very nice to have our lives back."