Broadwindsor Cricket Club (BCC) was established in 1923 and currently welcomes more than 400 players each year.
The current owners of Broadwindsor Cricket Ground decided not to renew the lease and then served BCC with a notice to vacate the Ground and remove the pavilion! This would tragically spell the end of a 97-year old Club.
However, after months of negotiations, we have come to an agreement to pay a fair price for the Ground. We must now raise £35,000 and are seeking financial aid from all players, friends and supporters to help #SaveBroadwindsorCricket.
We are hoping to raise £10,000 through this Crowdfunding campaign. We will not receive a penny until we achieve this. We must also have 50 pledges or more to attract match funding. In addition, we have submitted 9 grant applications and 2 interest-free loan applications so far.
The Ground, where we have been playing under a lease agreement since 1965, was previously voted as one of the top 5 most beautiful in the country by Wisden. We managed to host 40 games in 2019 which includes our Sunday Mid-Wessex XI, the Middleton-Hands evening league and friendlies against many local and touring teams. Our grassroots Middleton-Hands evening league absolutely enshrines the spirit of village cricket and is something to really shout about. Each year we are proud to encourage a number of youth and adult players to don pads for the first time whilst being supported by their teammates and competitors up to the standard of seasoned Dorset Premier League and West of England Premier League cricketers. We also welcome the local primary school children for coaching on Friday afternoons during the summer.
Organisation and Fundraising
We are a constituted not-for-profit organisation and are registering as a Community Amateur Sports Club. When approved, this will allow us to claim GiftAid on donations from tax-paying individuals for whom we have created a set of rewards. We do not have much to offer other than honorary Club positions in exchange for your generosity, save for the promise to welcome players and spectators, young and old, for decades to come. We also hope to have match funding for all donations. This means that your £10 donation = £10 from you + £2.50 GiftAid + £10 match funding = £22.50 for the club
Our fundraising task has been made tough due to the challenges imposed on grassroots sporting organisations because of Covid-19, particularly given that we predominantly serve a rural community that has been hit hard by the pandemic. In recent years we had success with raising this level of capital to build our pavilion however the funding streams we used are much reduced due to Covid-19. Alongside this Crowdfunding scheme, we are continuing to seek aid from local, regional and national organisations in the form of loans, grants and match funding. We are being supported by and are affiliated to the Dorset Cricket Board and Somerset Cricket Board (pending).
We must raise the cash to buy the ground as soon as possible. If we can't achieve this, the club will cease to be viable and will fold before the 2021 season. Once we have freehold ownership of the Ground, we intend to make the facilities available to the local community throughout the year for a broader set of leisure-related activities. Until now, our lease has restricted use of the ground to cricket. Once purchased, the freehold will be placed in a Trust. We then intend to expand our cricket offering to increase the youth set up along with continuing to encourage anyone who is interested (young or old, first-timer or seasoned pro!) to come and play.
We are truly humbled to have attracted so much support from so many people with a massively diverse set of interests in the future of our club and idyllic ground - thank you!
Sport England have kindly agreed to match fund our pledges towards an increased fundraising target of £20,000 - we raise £10,000, they chip in £10,000. Crowdfunder are generously charging no fees, and taking no commission - they will rely for income solely on the “tips” our donors add to a pledge, which is exceptionally kind.
Please keep spreading the word and help us #SaveBroadwindsorCricket
With your extreme generosity, we are over the moon to see that more than £20,000 in pledges has been made!! We promise not to rest until the future of the Ground is fully secured but PLEASE continue helping us on our journey to raising the full £35,000 using every means at your disposal.
Below is a selection of the messages of support that we have received.
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."
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