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CricketForce raises £1million for Sussex

Over £1million was raised for grassroots cricket across Sussex after a bumper weekend of NatWest CricketForce in the county.

Around 3,000 volunteers mucked in to help at 53 cricket clubs in Sussex, while 59 Sussex players, staff and board members joined the effort to renovate and improve grounds across the weekend of April 4 and 5.

Hailsham CC, the county's showcase club near Eastbourne, transformed their ground by installing a new artificial pitch, painting the pavilion inside and out and by building a storage compound and two new sightscreens.

Volunteers at the East Sussex club also erected a new fence around the pavilion and undertook pre-season work on the square.

Participation in recreational cricket in Sussex rose by 21% in 2008, and women and girls club membership by 78%.

The county hope that the boost provided in a World Twenty20 and Ashes year - both held in England - will further increase particpiation in club cricket.

Andy Hobbs, head of recreational cricket said: “NatWest CricketForce is a brilliant event with 53 clubs taking part across Sussex and over £1m invested into grass roots cricket in one weekend.

“However, it is about much more than one weekend. Through the event clubs can really engage with their local community and show what an important part of the it they are.

“Clubs desperately need more volunteers to support their activities and we hope that this event can help them with that.”

Dave Brooks, Sussex chief executive, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the county club and the recreational game to join forces and build partnerships in cricket throughout Sussex at all levels.

“It’s fantastic to think that all of our players, staff and board members were out and about taking part in the NatWest CricketForce weekend.”