Emergency Open Meeting – Monday, June 25 7pm at the KG5 Field, Uplyme
UPLYME & Lyme Regis Cricket Club is launching a crucial fundraising campaign to ensure cricket continues in the area after a 132-year run.
The club faces possible closure at the end of the 2018 season, along with outreach activities for young people in the two communities and an end to the club’s maintenance and care of the King George V (KG5) playing field in Uplyme.
Club chairman Ian Thomas commented: “Financial pressure facing the club is not recent, but has developed over many years, in a bizarre set of circumstances centring around the history of the ground and works completed by the club.
“In December 1938, the KG5 ground ownership was transferred from Uplyme Cricket & Tennis Club to the National Playing Fields Association, ‘to be used in perpetuity as a Cricket Field and Recreation Ground’.
“The National Playing Fields Association’s interest subsequently transferred to Fields In Trust, with KG5 trustees managing it under charitable objectives reflecting the covenant from the 1938 conveyance.
“In the 1980s the cricket club embarked on a major fundraising effort with celebrity visits, a cricket festival and even snooker exhibition in the old cinema in Lyme Regis. Despite its success, the campaign which financed and built the cricket pavilion in Uplyme actually lies at the core of the club’s current problems.
“Members financed and built the pavilion via an undocumented ‘gentleman’s agreement’, on land owned by Fields in Trust. The result is that the pavilion is actually owned by Fields in Trust and the cricket club has no security of tenure over either the pavilion it built, nor the large ground it maintains for the whole village.
“This lack of secure tenure further means that the club is neither able to secure grant funding available to other amateur, not for profit sports clubs, nor earn revenue income from other users, to contribute toward ground maintenance, which the cricket club completes.
“Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, a lack of investment into the pavilion and cricket ground, other than by the club itself, for at least the last eight years, has restricted the club’s ability to finance a sustainable future for the use of the KG5 ground as a cricket field and recreational ground, on anything other than a precarious, shoestring budget.
“Inevitably, in autumn 2017, the club’s roller, essential to playing cricket, finally expired after 30 years of service.
“Following an expenditure by the club of £1,500 the previous winter, to ensure electrical facilities in the pavilion were safe, depleted reserves meant the club could neither afford a new roller, nor any suitable used model. The only option, to allow the 2018 season to start, was ‘rent to buy’ and £2,900 was paid to rent the roller for the season, totally draining the club’s reserves.
“Further funds have been raised, but a purchase balance of £4,300 remains due in early September, without which the roller will be returned.”
The club is now inviting everyone in the Uplyme and Lyme Regis communities interested in the future of local cricket to join members for an emergency meeting on Monday, June 25 at 7pm at the field.
The club would welcome financial support from local government, club members, supporters, sponsors, schools and cricket lovers in both communities, who benefit from the KG5 field or value the outreach work of the club with local primary schools in Uplyme, Lyme Regis and Charmouth.
The cricket club and KG5 trustees have agreed ‘in principle’ a long lease of the pavilion and the immediate surrounding area, to the club, and £4,300 will settle the outstanding roller balance and allow time for structural changes to the club and its governance to be completed.
The club will then be able to develop a sustainable business plan for the future of local cricket.
Fundraising events will also be held over the coming months with full details to be announced soon. A Crowdfunding page has also been set up and donations can be made at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/paul-messer-memorial-roller