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Primary Club Golden Jubilee

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Former Middlesex colleagues Angus Fraser and Phil Tufnell presented each other with Primary Club ties when they were out to the second and third balls of a hat-trick against Leicestershire in 1998

The Primary Club, the cricketers' charity for the blind and partially sighted, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee and is calling on cricket fans everywhere to become members.

Donations have reached record levels and 'mid-sized charity' status has now been achieved.

The Primary Club was started in 1955 at Beckenham CC in Kent. Membership is open to anyone who has been out first ball, at any level of the game, as well as to all those who simply love cricket and wish to support the club's efforts to raise money to provide sporting and recreational facilities for the visually impaired.

Since 1997 Derek Underwood MBE, who began his cricket career at Beckenham, has been club patron.

Club chairman, Robert Fleming, said: "After 50 years the charity is stronger than ever. We can look forward to continued growth over the next 50 years.”

Few cricketers have not been out first ball, and several Test players are Primary Club members.

When four slightly inebriated young Beckenham players, depressed by their efforts with the bat, vowed to support FR Brown's Fund for Blind Cricketers they set the ball rolling, and what began almost as a joke blossomed into a serious if idiosyncratic charity.

It grew rapidly, aided by references to its objectives by the late Brian Johnston and the Test Match Special team.

The club is now known in cricketing countries all over the world and has around 10,000 members, who have donated nearly two million pounds.

The club is working with more than 40 groups and schools for the blind and partially sighted throughout the UK.

It helps children and adults at all levels of blind sport and has financed projects ranging from a specially adapted adventure playground to an artificial ski slope, a heated swimming pool, canoes and sailing boats.

As well as providing sponsorship and equipment for blind sportsmen and women at club, national and international level, the club is the official sponsor of the British Blind Sport Cricket Knockout final at Lord's and the English Blind Golf Matchplay Championship.

The club is always on the lookout for new members, who are asked to pay a joining subscription of only £20, for which they receive a tie or, in the case of women, £15 to include a brooch. Thereafter donations are voluntary.

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The Golden Duck, launched in July 2005, gives a lot of pleasure to children in the care of the Royal London Society for the Blind. The Duck was paid for by a grant from The Primary Club

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