Sport In Profile UK Issue 16 - Page 50

Claygate FOLLOW US ONLINE Claygate Cricket CLUB ‘From fire to future’ … how a small club in Surrey is recovering from a devastating fire... Recovering from a devastating fire and suffering the loss of a clubhouse is one thing, but Claygate Cricket Club’s clubhouse was less than five years old and destroyed by ‘wilful damage’, by vandals who were never caught. The impact of the fire on both the club and the village has been devastating. It’s a story of resilience and drive that now finds the club about to embark on a re-building project which will produce a clubhouse bigger and better than the previous one and provide the club and the village with a flagship facility that will last for many years to come. Club President Steve Wells explains, “The last year has been enormously challenging for the club, and members have been working incredibly hard for us to compete in our 132nd season. The fire affected every facet of the club, but we have been so grateful for the support we have had from so many different directions in our hour of need, from Surrey CCC, the Fullers League, from other cricket clubs, from Claygate Recreation Ground Trust and from the local community.” To continue playing this year, Claygate bought and fitted out temporary accommodation in the form of three movable cabins. They cost nearly £30k, but with a healthy financial position and the generosity of members, Claygate were able to do that. As a result they have 50 Issue 16 been able to meet all their playing commitments in the Fullers Surrey County League this season. The facilities will meet their needs for next season as well whilst the main pavilion is rebuilt. The club has a long history of resilience. It started 132 years ago when Mark Twain first wrote Huckleberry Finn and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado first opened at the Savoy Theatre in London. England played Australia in the first ‘Ashes’ test match only eight years before! The club became established thanks to the Honourable Fitzalan Foley as President with his private house Loseberry’ as the first home ground. The clubhouse that now stands as a burnt-out shell was completed and opened in 2012 after a three-year £400k fundraising effort in the community. The club was enormously proud of that achievement which provided one of the best club facilities in the county. The action by vandals on the night of the 7th November meant the process had to start all over again. Insurance has covered most of the loss, but once again fundraising has been fantastic and there have been many events held in the last six months. One highlight was a game in July against the Surrey Masters XI - an opportunity offered right after the fire by Surrey County Cricket Club.