Pavilion opening is end of long journey

THE relentlessly wet weather could do little to dampen the spirits of a large crowd of players, friends, supporters and community representatives at Wirksworth Recreation Ground on Sunday for the official opening of the new Wirksworth & Middleton CC pavilion.

The ribbon, to mark the formal opening, was cut to great cheers by two ladies whose late husbands, Ken Wilson and Stanley Greatorex, between them notched up 100 years as members of the club and both served as club presidents, namely Barbara Wilson and Leah Greatorex. The Ken Wilson stone, beautifully carved by club member Colin Julian, is a fitting memorial and the new club flag which Leah sponsored, flew proudly through the ceremony.

The handsome, new and totally refurbished pavilion, built on the site of its 1887 predecessor, gives both players and spectators a fine base for playing and watching. The project and new nets has cost £250,000. It was built by local man Stuart Poplar and has occupied the energies of a determined Pavilion Committee for nearly ten years. There has been enormous support from members, sponsors and the local community for the club’s fund raising efforts.

Club chairman Sue Marshall, praised the work of the committee and thanked the many members and friends who had contributed to a whole club effort. Richard Needham, a visionary president and generous sponsor, chaired the committee with John Thompson as driving co-ordinator, Andrew Redfern, applying his tireless fund- raising skills and Paul Baines, architectural supremo and hard working project manager.

John Thompson and Roy Pearce organised a successful Buy a Brick appeal and donors are recorded on a special plaque.

The club received considerable financial support from the England and Wales Cricket Board, Derbyshire Aggregates Levy, Sportsmatch and main sponsor Tapton Estates, all of whom were represented at the opening ceremony. ‘This place is a palace,’ said one of the young cricketers.

The new facilities offer a generous social area with bar and well-equipped kitchen and a fine viewing balustrade. There is a gallery of historic photographs. The club wants this excellent building to be available for wide community use. Already we have hosted a late night birthday disco in the Wirksworth Pav.

Sadly, the celebration cricket match was abandoned.