NatWest CricketForce 2011 saw a record breaking 1,914 cricket clubs take part in this tenth anniversary year. Thousands of volunteers alongside a few famous faces gave up their time over the weekend to help out at their local club.
Steven Finn, Charlotte Edwards and Laura Marsh kicked off proceedings as they lent a hand alongside 300 volunteers at Witham Cricket Club in Essex on Friday 8th April, the first of three national showcase clubs to feature over the weekend.
Witham CC chairman John Chick said "People have been fantastic, we had 180 schoolchildren here; people from the ECB, Essex CCC, NatWest and a whole load of people from the local community came out to help us.
Gary Mangle - Derby College
Graham Clark - NatWest
"When you have 300 people around you who are looking to do things it’s amazing how quickly things get done. Our drive is 212 metres long and we thought it would take the best part of a day to lay it as it’s all being done by hand, we’ve got no machinery. But we put a few people on it and an hour and a half later it was done."
Bognor Regis Cricket Club featured on Saturday and welcomed the support of Chris Tremlett, Holly Colvin and Mike Gatting along with 155 people from the local community, all of which joined forces to paint a 300m long fence in just over 20 minutes.
Bognor Regis CC Chairman Bernie Burns said: "NatWest CricketForce has given a great boost to the club and the community.
"It’s very good for young people and Bognor Regis Cricket Club will only benefit from the people that are here today and those who want to join the club."
Former England Captain and NatWest Cricket Ambassador Michael Vaughan joined Ajmal Shahzad, Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn at Sawley and Long Eaton Park Cricket Club on Sunday 10th April.
Mike Gatting, ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships said: "Once again we have seen fantastic contributions and generosity from the communities over the NatWest CricketForce weekend.
"Another record breaking year proves how popular NatWest CricketForce is with clubs across the county. It provides an excellent opportunity for clubs to engage with the local community and businesses as they assist them to renovate and prepare facilities ahead of the season.
"It’s so important for cricket clubs to get the support of their local community so the game continues to grow and there are safe, quality facilities for everyone to enjoy."
Michael Vaughan, former England Captain and NatWest Cricket Ambassador said: "This weekend NatWest CricketForce gave volunteers, the local community and over 1,000 NatWest staff the opportunity to put something back into the game at grassroots level by helping to sustain the future of their local clubs.
"Many cricket clubs survive on a shoestring budget, so it’s vital we attract and maintain the support of cricket players and volunteers whose efforts make a huge difference to communities across the country and safeguard the future of the game we all love. If all of the estimated 85,000 volunteers did just one hour’s work over the weekend, it’s the equivalent of nine and a half years in time – a massive contribution."