Alec Stewart was the guest of honour at Stoke D’Abernon Cricket Club on Friday 23rd April at an evening event which was attended by more than 60 members. The occasion marked the formal presentation of Stoke’s Clubmark certificate by Alec to Stoke’s Chairman, Drew Patrick, and members were given the opportunity to hear about the ambitious development plans for the club.
Sharon Eyers, Cricket Development Manager for Surrey CCC, congratulated the club for achieving this important landmark, explaining that the Clubmark accreditation could provide access to much-needed funds for the expansion of the clubhouse and future capital projects. Sharon also stressed that the most successful amateur cricket clubs have a broad base of volunteers, drawing parents and players alike into numerous roles which ensure that a club runs smoothly. She emphasised that, in Stoke’s case, the club must now evolve from relying on a small number of people to do all the jobs, to having a much larger group of volunteers sharing the workload.
Drew Patrick presented a list of vacancies for the new volunteer roles which had been included in the original development plan during the Clubmark accreditation process. Members were invited to step forward for 35 new jobs, ranging from Social Secretary to Clubhouse Cleaners. Each job was displayed on a wall chart so that members could sign-up during the evening.
Alec Stewart followed the formal presentations by entertaining members with stories about his cricketing life and life after cricket. He answered numerous questions from members about his test career, Surrey CCC, and the best way to develop young cricketers. He brought the house down when he admitted to being clueless whenever he faced Shane Warne! He finished his session with a rallying cry to Stoke’s members, urging them to sign up as volunteers and help to build an even stronger community spirit at their club.
The evening included the presentation of the new club cricket shirt to 1st XI Captain, Sid Lahiri, by Duncan Howorth of 2010 sponsors, Jardine Lloyd Thompson. Every playing member of the club will receive a free shirt from the sponsors.
The speeches were followed by an auction of cricketing memorabilia, raising an impressive £1850 for the club coffers. By the time the clubhouse was closed at 10.00pm, 27 of the 35 vacancies had been filled, demonstrating the commitment of parents, players and siblings to the future of the club.