Stars flock to Cheadle Hulme
Cheadle Hulme CC will be swamped by celebrities when NatWest CricketForce gets under way on Saturday.
Cricketers past and present and the great and good of Stockport’s political scene will attend Grove Park for the start of the two-day volunteering event, the biggest in British sport.
David Collier, chief executive of the ECB, is the latest high-profile supporter to come on board as NatWest CricketForce grows by the day.
He will visit Cheadle Hulme CC in Cheshire along with former England and Lancashire fast bowler Peter Martin and current England A and Lancashire seamer Tom Smith, one of the most highly regarded young players in the country.
England women’s international Katherine Brunt will be joined by David Leeming, Mark Bennett and Luke Proctor of the Lancashire Academy, giving the dozens of children expected to turn out no shortage of autograph opportunities.
Stockport Mayor Peter Burns, Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter and MEP Sajjad Karim have also pledged their support, while inflatables and non-stop kwik cricket matches will keep the youngsters amused all day.
The event has captured the attention of the local and national media, and the fun and games - not to mention a mound of renovation work to the ground and clubhouse - will be captured by a professional film crew.
New nets will be fitted thanks to a grant from Stockport Council; a BBQ and patio area constructed with the help of T&R Properties and Jewson, Hazel Grove; sightscreens and pavilion painted; fences erected; and the ground landscaped during what promises to be the busiest weekend in the club’s 126-year history.
Waitrose, Monkhouse, Hire-Equip, Ashfield Healthcare, Greggs and Mark and Splendour have also signed up as partners for the event.
Volunteers can expect a free T-shirt, free food, free coaching from professional cricketers and coaches, and hours of fun as they help give the facilities a much-needed facelight, the scale of which has never been seen before.
Chris Beckley, project manager at Cheadle Hulme CC, said: “This isn’t just about getting lots of jobs done - there is so much going on that parents and children are sure to have a great time as well.
“It is guaranteed to be a fun day and everyone at the club has been looking forward to for weeks.”
Alex Heritage, senior development officer at Stockport Council, added: “The NatWest CricketForce event at Cheadle Hulme is set to be the biggest voluntary sporting event of the year.
“The strong support from the cricket club, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, ECB, local businesses and volunteers is seeing a great deal of resources and expertise coming together.
“The day itself will see unprecedented levels of restoration to the club, whilst providing a variety of fun and enjoyable cricket coaching in the inflatable arenas for all the young people followed by exclusive interaction and coaching from some of the Lancashire team and Katherine Brunt.”