Former England captain Mike Gatting is urging the local community to lend a helping at Belper Meadows Cricket Club later this month – insisting he loved every minute of his time spent there.
The 14th annual NatWest CricketForce will take place between 27tth and 29th March 27-29 with this year promising to be another blockbuster event with more than 2,000 clubs registered to take part.
Tens of thousands of club members and volunteers will come together to clean, tidy, repair and revitalise clubhouses and cricket grounds across the country ahead of the new season.
It was back in 2013 that Gatting rolled his sleeves up and got stuck in at Belper Meadows Cricket Club, and the ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships admits he hopes they get stuck in again this time around too.
“There were so many clubs that stuck out to me last year and so much fantastic work has been done over the years,” said Gatting.
“The biggest thing that gives me pleasure from helping out is hearing from the hundreds of clubs involved.
“We get loads of reports as the summer goes on that the clubs have a new lease of life, with new sponsors, volunteers, members, and the players are happier as well and that was certainly the case for Belper Meadows.
“On the day that I was at Belper Meadows they were taking some wooden pallets and turning them into a picket fence. We got it all finished by the end of the day and we could see the delight on their faces when we got it all done.
“I hope we’re helping the communities as well as the clubs,” he added. “Kids want to go to clubs, and have fun with their mates in a safe area.
“It’s all about the community for cricket clubs, and in some places the clubs can stop kids from being out on the street and doing drugs, in gangs, and other terrible things.”
NatWest CricketForce is an ECB project helping cricket clubs renovate and improve their facilities before each season with the help of members and their wider communities. Find out when your local club event is and lend a hand at ecb.co.uk/nwcf