FREE ❧ JESMOND COMMUNITY FESTIVAL ISSUE ❧ Wednesday 9 May 2012 News, views and who’s who in NE2 Photos from the Festival (p6), and a dazzling charity concert at RGS (p2) SEC ON D ISS UE Surprise celebrity interview inside (p2) 125 not out for Cricket Club Newcastle Cricket Club celebrates 125 years at the heart of the Jesmond community this Sunday with an open day packed full of activities. Visitors will get to try their hand at archery, Zumba and wine tasting, as well as the eponymous game; before kicking back in the stands to watch a cup match from 1.30pm. Fresh from a £150,000 refurbishment over the winter, the Cricket Club sports a new pavilion entrance further up Osborne Avenue with a ramp and automatic doors. “It would have been impossible to make all the progress of the last six years without the huge number of supporters who’ve been generous with their time, with donations and idea,” said co-chair of the Club, Olwyn Hocking. “It’s been extremely hard work to ensure the club’s future, but it is all worth it when you see so many more people enjoying using the ground and pavilion, and the community all coming together”. The Club has a long tradition of self-help: last year’s volunteers won a special award from the English Cricket Board, and it was a high-profile community campaign over two years from 2004 which helped save the historic ground from closure. Over 60 volunteers turned out for its annual Cricketforce event on 1 April, wielding brushes and tools to get the Club in shape for the new season. It was a similar feat of altruism that brought the Club into being 125 years ago. The recent discovery of a newspaper article from 1887 reveals how money to convert the fields on Osborne avenue into a sports ground was raised – by a Fancy Dress Ball held at Newcastle’s Assembly Rooms, when several hundred partygoers danced until 3am. Hocking also pays tribute to the ground’s current leaseholders, the Royal Grammar School. “They really appreciate how special the ground is and have been committed to its restoration,” she said. “The club is looking the best it has in many years,” she added. “But best of all is the expansion in sports activity: the new accessible entrances and facilities have meant that people with disabilities are now able to use the ground and pavilion. “There’s also been growing interest in women’s cricket so that’s been added this season as well. Against a national trend of falling participation in sport, and falling volunteering, the Club is a wonderful focal point that is bucking the trend and tempting people to roll up their sleeves and try something new.” The open day takes place from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 13 May.