Below is a growing collection of letters, testimonials and messages of support that the club have received since launching a crowdfunding campaign. There are players (past and present); villagers, locals and those from much further afield; cricket writers and broadcasters; young and old; those with a love for the game as well as those that have no knowledge or understanding of cricket but who realise the importance of the cricket ground and club in Broadwindsor.
Ade Phillips - Club Captain and Groundsman
"In 1981 the club was in danger of folding when the elderly groundsman had to give up due to ill health and the captain was moving away to start a new job, so at the AGM the chairman asked for volunteers to fill these roles. When no-one came forward I stood up and said I'd do both and am still doing them now.
[...] with the Club centenary coming up in 2023, I hope I can play a part in keeping the Club going and prospering for another 100 years."
Read full letter here
Jack - Youngest Broadwindsor CC Mid-Wessex League Player
"If you take away this beloved club that my stepdad has worked so hard on, it would break his heart, my heart and especially the teams heart. [...]
I love playing there and it is my dream to be a cricketer when I'm older."
Henry Blofeld (Blowers) - Test Match Special Cricket Commentator
"I have commentated at many venues over the years, but sadly not yet Broadwindsor. From pictures it looks to deserve its status as Wisden’s selection for the most beautiful grounds in England. [...] In my long career in cricket I have witnessed many wonderful moments at many wonderful grounds but there are few sadder things than the demise of such a place as Broadwindsor, and I sincerely hope it does not happen. I strongly support the club’s efforts to preserve it and - as again I understand their plans to be – to put it in an eternal trust protecting its sporting status in the long term.
[...] We cannot afford to lose grounds if we are to maintain interest in the sport. I am not sure whether my batting, wicket keeping or even commentating career will ever extend to Broadwindsor, but the future of the club will be on my mind and in my heart. I am writing in support of efforts being made to save the Broadwindsor Cricket ground from extinction."
Read full letter here
Clive Stafford Smith OBE - Club Chairman
"There is much we need to do to make the club all that it can be. We need to recruit more youth - I hope my 12 year old, Wilf, will eventually take on my role, when I retire to take up scoring. We need to bring more women into the game here, just as the women’s game has exploded nationally. I would like us to beautify the ground still more.
But all of that is currently threatened with oblivion. We must work hard to save this local and national treasure, so that generations may enjoy it in the future."
Read full letter here
Chris Loder - MP for West Dorset
"As the Member of Parliament for West Dorset, I am very pleased to write in strong support of the Broadwindsor Cricket Club in their struggle to save their idyllic ground [...] This cricket ground is a vital cog in the workings of this wonderful village, which in itself is one of the most lovely in West Dorset. [...] it would be such a tragedy if this ground were to be lost.
I am encouraged by the dedication and commitment of the club members in seeking to raise the funds to buy the ground and put it into a trust so that it is preserved indefinitely for sporting purposes. I am hopeful that the owners will agree to a reasonable price, and as the local Member of Parliament, I am obviously open to doing anything I can to mediate a resolution and ensure the club's survival."
Read full letter here
Phillip Smith - Headteacher of Broadwindsor Primary School
"The school in partnership with yourselves has offered cricket coaching with local grassroots players which inspired many children to continue their journey in sport and indeed cricket. I know first-hand how excited pupils were to visit the ground and actually train there!
[...] I am sure if you are able to secure funds that our links with you will continue to thrive and another generation of sporting lovers and cricketers will flourish."
Read full letter here
Michael Frampton - Former Broadwindsor Cricketer
"I played my first game for Broadwindsor in 1953 when the ground was originally across the road from where it is now. It then moved to Yarn Barton below the school and I played in a very memorable game against Beaminster. We batted first and were all out for 46 then we bowled Beaminster out for 12 with Reg Wakely and myself taking 5 wickets each. I was very lucky to play at all three grounds and both my sons and two grandsons have also played for the village. The ground and club has come on so much since we used to graze our sheep on the outfield in the winter and it’s is a credit to Adrian and the team. Best of luck raising all the funds, best wishes Mike Frampton and family."
Nick Pitson - Cricketer for Sonning Common CC (annual touring team for over 25 years)
"Sonning Common Village Cricket Club from Oxfordshire have been touring this part of Dorset for around 25 years. We have been extremely lucky to have found a great club with great people to visit every year and it is the highlight of our season. There are many stories of the cricket we have played on Broadwindsor’s beautiful ground and we all queue up to field on the far side where the ball slows up the hill and we don’t have to run very far! We stand at the ground every year saying that ‘lamenting how great it is and this is what it is all about!’ But without doubt our best memories are the friends we have made over the years. The welcome we receive from Broadwindsor Cricket Club and it’s community is second to none and anyone who visits longs to return. We do.
This is Village Cricket at its best, ask anyone who has played there, and it is essential that these rural clubs and traditions are not allowed to disappear as they contribute so much to the local rural community. We are all looking forward to being able to tour again very soon and sample the Broadwindsor hospitality once again. Best of luck to Ade and everyone at Broadwindsor from all at Sonning Common Village CC, Oxfordshire."
Qamar Ahmed - Cricket Writer, Broadcaster and Former First-Class Player (commentator of more than 400 international Test matches)
"As one who has played the game at first-class level in Pakistan as well as league and club cricket in England, I am concerned to learn that a reputable club like Broadwindsor C.C. is threatened with closure. [...] Clubs are the nurseries of aspiring cricketers and have got to be encouraged and saved. I therefore lend my full support to Clive Stafford Smith and Broadwindsor Cricket Club in their attempt to save the prestigious club."
Read full letter here
Peter Oborne - Cricketer, Journalist and Broadcaster (author of: Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan)
"I have known the chair of the club, Clive Stafford Smith, for many years. He (along with another member, Alastair Crawford) accompanied me on a wonderful tour of Pakistan three years back. [...] just as the Pakistanis celebrate the sport, so should we. To lose a ground like that in Broadwindsor would be an irreparable loss. Not just for cricketers. It would do permanent damage to our public domain at a moment when it is already under threat."
Read full letter here
Pete Choules - Cricketer for Highmore CC (annual visitors for over 25 years)
"I play for Highmoor Cricket Club, which is based near Henley On Thames Oxfordshire, and have been connected with Broadwindsor CC for 25+ years. We travel down every year for our annual cricket tour (except this year of course) and it's one of the highlights of our season. [...] This club is a typical village cricket club which [...] like so many others is in danger of being lost. We hope this club will be here for years to come for the next generations of village cricketers and locals even if WE may struggle to put the 'whites on' in the future."
John & Caroline Montagu - Earl & Countess of Sandwich
"Caroline and I have long been great supporters of local cricket, and have been sad to witness the demise of the pitch in Melplash where our local team, the Mapperton Marauders played regularly, and also the loss of the pitch in Bridport. Thus it was of great concern to us to learn that the Broadwindsor pitch is under threat, for that is another gem in the local cricket crown, and the place where the Marauders have played most of their games this year, along with so many other clubs. [...] I may be past my prime as a cunning off-break spinner, but we still enjoy coming to the games and encouraging the teams. We strongly support the efforts being made by the cricketers themselves, and their friends and neighbours, to preserve the club, and we whole-heartedly lend our support to them."
N. Jenkin - Cricketer for Les Erbs CC (annual visitors for over 20 years)
"In these strange times thoughts of spending a summers day being entertained by Broadwindsor CC sees us through.
As a Touring side we have enjoyed their company and friendship for more than 20 years and the thought of not being able to visit was bad enough just for this summer when COVID struck. Any thoughts of losing this beautiful village cricket ground permanently are unthinkable. It is one of the jewels in the crown of this gorgeous traditional rural village, a testament to the time, love and dedication put in by Ade and the boys together with the tireless fund raising for the New Pavilion.
Give generously all. We can’t keep losing vital community facilities like this. Good luck boys.
From all your Les Erbs Friends."
Reginald John Crabb - Former player
"I played cricket for Broadwindsor in the 1950s as a young teenager with my Dad Tim Crabb and Uncle Jim Crabb. At the time we only played away games, I certainly did not play at home. Just at the time I moved away to work in Norwich in 1963 the lease of the land at Broadwindsor House was secured and my father and brother Bruce started work on it. Initial rolling with a vibrating roller saw the square sink a foot, ask Bruce, but it did rise back up. Bruce was groundsman for a very long time, at age 77 he is still groundsman at Chard. I never got to play on the pitch at Broadwindsor, but did manage to play successfully in Norwich, Essex and Sussex, Coaching juniors for some 10 years in Sussex. It’s great to have had the opportunity to support Broadwindsor in your efforts to buy the ground, here’s hoping all goes well. Good wishes, John Crabb."
Robert Bruce Crabb - Former groundsman and player
"Lets hope Broadwindsor Cricket Club can keep the ground, it will be a sad if not. I take my hat off to Adie Phillips for keeping the ground in good condition, may it continue. A labour of love as I can vouch with doing the ground in Chard for the last 42 years.I with my Father and Uncle Jim started the Middleton Hands ground in 1962 first three years before a lease. My Father put his Firms 5 ton Road Roller over the ground and it went down some distance but came up again as the roller passed over it was like a sponge, very slow in the early years. I departed to play for Beaminster Cricket Club in 1969. Uncle Jim and my Brother Geoffrey kept the ground in good order until Uncle had to give up because of ill health in 1981, that's where Adie came in, long may it continue. On lighter note despite my older brother John reporting I'm 77 I was 73 in July. I wondered where the last 4 years had gone."
Susan Hill - Author
"Village cricket is the beating heart of the game. They shall not pass!"
A selection of comments from the crowdfunding page:
"We have to save this special club and ground. It's part of the village and contributes to making Broadwindsor the fabulous place to live that it is. We all need to help secure it's future before it's lost forever. Come on people."
"All the best Aidie & Co at Broadwindsor. Many fond memories of long summer evenings at Broadwindsor and here’s to many more!"
"Really hope the club can survive. It's given so much enjoyment to so many people - a real part of village life."
"Best of luck, happy to have contributed to such a worthy and deserving cause."
"Great club, beautiful ground. Let’s keep this going for our future generations of cricketers."
"Good luck with your fund raising. My family has a long association with the cricket club. Long may it continue."
"Wishing you every success in raising the necessary funds to buy the ground. I played for Swanage over many years, but am now 'with you' from Lanzarote. I will pop in next summer."
"Cricket clubs will be even more important to the local community when life gets back to normal."
"Good luck with the campaign and hope the club has many more years at its current home."
"Am now in the twilight of a cricket career which never really had a dawn but would love to play at Broadwindsor before the sun finally sets."
"Carry on playing the best game ever invented. Great memories of playing the game at Ulverston CC then at Broadwindsor CC before retiring with dodgy eyesight. Retired... and the dressing room is now safe from flying cricket bats after failure at the crease!! Keep it up boys your doing a great job."
"Village Cricket is the essence of England."
"Had some cracking games at Broadwindsor over the years both for and against them and would be sad to see it go especially with all the efforts behind the scenes. All the best in your efforts to keep it going."
"Village cricket is the best and won’t be recreated once gone."
"Keep on batting and bowling Broadwindsor CC."
"I’ve been fortunate to have played and enjoyed many games on this lovely ground. Long live Broadwindsor CC."
"Very worthy cause, best of luck, please support and help this club to maintain their future, so much unseen work goes into running this super cricket club, let it continue for the future generations of cricketers."
"I don't understand cricket nor will I ever but I do understand the club's importance to the village. Lush Places will not be the same without it. We can do this. Best of luck!"
"Fantastic cricket club. Imperative for the local community that it keeps going."
"Good Luck! My Grandad Tim Crabb and many family members loved this ground."
"We’re very proud to be able to Support the Club and wish them every success for many more years to come."
"Good luck guys hope you reach your target, The Soakers enjoyed our brief stint there this summer and hope to be back for more in the future at such an idealic ground!"
"Thank you for all the great nights your cricket club has given me."
To summarise, the situation is perilous. Should we not quickly make up the immediate cash deficit needed to keep our Club in existence, there will not be a BCC for the 2021 season.
Every contribution will be greatly appreciated. Please help us #SaveBroadwindsorCricket
> You can donate and support Broadwindsor Cricket here