Cheadle Hulme showcases NatWest CricketForce in style
Cheadle Hulme CC is celebrating a new lease of life after it made a sensational NatWest CricketForce debut.
Taking part in the ECB’s nationwide volunteering event for the first time, the Cheshire club was transformed beyond recognition as almost 200 volunteers descended on Grove Park over the weekend to give the ground and facilities a long overdue facelift.
Among those who lent a helping hand were ECB chief executive David Collier, England A and Lancashire seamer Tom Smith and England women’s fast bowler Katherine Brunt.
They were joined by Mayor of Stockport Peter Burns, local Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter and MEP Sajjad Karim at a star-studded event which was the talk of the town.
Thanks to the efforts of committed members, their families and friends, and local residents, more work was completed at Cheadle Hulme CC - one of the ECB's NatWest CricketForce showcase clubs - than in the last 20 years combined.
A patio/BBQ area was built; fences and advertising boards erected; new nets fitted; portable net constructed; bowling machine unveiled; sightscreens painted; benches varnished; covers and boundary rope repaired; and landscaping around the ground carried out.
While the willing volunteers - fed by local caterer Marks & Splendour - toiled under the beating sun, kids took a break to stock up on autographs, enjoy professional coaching from the Cheshire Cricket Board or play in Stockport Council’s huge inflatable.
Lancashire groundstaff tended to the wickets and outfield on both pitches at Grove Park, while Academy players David Leeming and Mark Bennett joined in with games on the outfield.
Chris Beckley, project leader at Cheadle Hulme CC, was eager to pay tribute to all those who supported the event.
“We had enormous help from the local community and particularly from five local businesses - Waitrose, Jewson, Hire-Equip, Ashfield Healthcare and Monkhouse Sports - and at short notice as well,” he said.
“To all the members, families and friends who turned up, and for the massive amount of hard work that everyone put in, I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ from everyone at Cheadle Hulme.”
Ewan McCray, 1st XI captain and member of the organising committee, added: "I've never seen so many people at the club, certainly not before the season starts, which was fantastic.
"Everybody did their bit and it just goes to show what can be achieved when everyone pulls together. We know that people will help out if you ask."
Alex Heritage, senior development officer at Stockport Council - partners in NatWest CricketForce - admitted to being overwhelmed by the scale and success of the event.
He said: “The event was bigger and better than anyone expected. The hard work and effort from the event committee and all the volunteers that gave up their day, is not only a credit to the club but to the whole community.
“Following the successful event Stockport Council and Cheadle Hulme Cricket Club will be working on a number of community events to continue the lasting legacy.”