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The power of NatWest CricketForce

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2011

We had a fantastic day last Friday when NatWest CricketForce came to our ground. A great big 'thank you' to everybody who made it very special for Witham Cricket and Hockey Clubs.

The day (and weekend) was a superb success and far exceeded any expectations we had and that is all down to everyone who helped out. I thank you.

What a sight it was down the park on Friday. Here are some of my memories and high points:

6am - Cristian Durant and Dave from Durant Cricket Ltd arrived to start work on the scorebox as well as about 30 club members being down the park.

6.55am - The catering team arrived.

7am - ECB Pro Bowl and NatWest Cricket Factory started setting up.

7.10am - The sun came up and shone from dawn to dusk

7.20am - Hearing the day advertised on BBC Radio Essex.

8am - ECB and M&C Saatchi arrived to help us with the day.

8.15am - First sausages and burgers were eaten.

9am - First volunteers turned up to help with the day .

9.30am - Mike Gatting arrived and worked tirelessly the entire day.

9.31am - We started shingling the drive, the paint was applied to Saul's Bridge (inside and out), all the rubbish was removed from around the ground, students and staff of Colchester Institute arrived to paint the inside of the pavilion, build our BBQ and roof the score box, the painting of the outside of the pavilion, the mound was spread, NatWest’s army of 50 helpers arrived, the hordes of volunteers who helped with the all these tasks and many many more, and the children from the local schools who all helped to make the day so special.

10.30am - Rickstones Academy group entertained us.

11am - The England stars joined us and made the kids' day by signing autographs.

11.10am - Seeing the local constabulary helping the youngsters with a branch that was too big for them to manage.

11.30am - Powers Hall School planted the shrubs in Bob’s garden.

11.45am - Presentations took place by ECB's Dave Leighton and David Collier, Essex CCC's David East and Greg Heaton of NatWest...and unfortunately you also had to listen to me.

12pm - We were all in a commemorative picture.

12.10pm - The second burger was eaten.

12.15pm - Mike Gatting posed in front of the new windows with the Crittalls representatives.

12.55pm - Our local MP Priti Patel arrived.

1pm - The Barrie Keeble and John Wilson memorial trees were planted.

1.30pm - Work resumed.

1.45pm - Seeing a very small child in a T-shirt far too big for him shovelling the mound – see for yourself by watching the video.

2.15pm - Looking around and seeing over 360 volunteers working, playing and enjoying the day.

3pm - Seeing Sam and his team of schoolchildren clearing the hedges.

3.10pm - Vic’s choice of music.

4.15pm - Seeing Simon Gibbs whizzing round levelling under the willow tree.

4.30pm - G&B Finch delivered the last of the shingle that was then spread.

4.36pm - Feeling jealous I didn’t get to go on the ECB crazy catching – mind you I would only have dropped it.

5pm - The first beer was opened.

Oh what a day.

These are just some of my thoughts from the day and I hope you all have your own. My apologies if I have missed off your contribution but it certainly is appreciated.

Friday has proved what can happen if we all work together and what can be achieved with the support of the community. Again, thanks to you all.

There is still a lot of work to do and last Friday was just the start.

This shows what can be achieved by the power of NatWest CricketForce – here’s to next year...but perhaps on a smaller scale.

Laura Marsh, Steven Finn & Charlotte Edwards

Steven Finn, Charlotte Edwards and Laura Marsh helped us on Friday