School's back at North Parade after Bath CC get Olympic funding boost
The indoor cricket school at Bath CC will be restored to its former glory after the club secured £50,000 of Olympic Legacy cash from Sport England's Inspired Facilities Fund.
Countless young cricketers, including current Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick, honed their skills at the North Parade facility until ongoing maintenance costs forced its closure in 2008.
However, Wighty’s – as the school was affectionately called after West Indies player Peter Wight, who set it up in 1962 – will now be completely renovated, thanks to the cash injection plus a sizeable private donation and the club’s own funds.
Bath CC cricket director Ian Shrubsole said: “We are delighted to have secured the investment, which means we can once again have a facility which can help us to create a vibrant cricketing centre.
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“It will serve the needs of the club itself but – crucially – enable us to be at the real heart of the local community.”
Bath MP Don Foster added: “This investment by Sport England is tremendous news for Bath CC and the wider Bath community.
“As a former member of the Olympic and Paralympic Board, ensuring a lasting legacy grows from the amazing London 2012 Games has been a priority for many years. Continued investment in sporting facilities is a crucial part of that legacy jigsaw.
“Here in Bath, renovation of the indoor facility at North Parade will enable Bath Cricket Club to extend its community work, while cementing its place as a cricket centre of excellence for the city and the region.”
The school was originally opened 51 years ago by Wight – who was playing for Somerset at the time – after Bath provided the site at a peppercorn rent.
He used the building to teach cricket up until his retirement in 2000, with the school shutting eight years later after it was deemed no longer suitable for use.
The original plan was to build a larger, brand-new indoor facility but now the wheels are already in motion to renovate the existing building as part of a regeneration of the whole North Parade site.
Bath CC – like the other 44 grassroots sports clubs nationwide set to benefit from the Olympic Legacy fund – will display the London 2012 Inspire mark, celebrating the link to last summer’s home Games.