TOFT Cricket Club is to launch its fundraising drive for a new pavilion with a dinner featuring cricketing legends Sir Ian Botham and Geoff Miller.

The 91-year-old club, which has 400 members, wants to build a new pavilion to replace the current building, which is showing its age and does not meet the required current standards.

The new pavilion will cost between £650,000 and £750,000, which the club hopes to raise over five years, with a view to opening the new building in 2028, its centenary year.

Knutsford Guardian:

Fundraising for the Toft Centenary Pavilion scheme launches at the club on Wednesday, October 9, with a ‘pledge evening’ dinner in a marquee, which is virtually sold out, about 350 tickets having been sold.

Club chairman Nigel Muirhead said: “We plan to build a new pavilion in the same place as it is today, retaining the traditional look, albeit with a more modern design.

“We replaced the shower and toilet part of the pavilion 15 years ago with a more substantial construction.

Knutsford Guardian:

“But it does not now meet the required current standards, and the rest of the pavilion has been showing its age for some years, with leaking roofs, poor drains, excessive heat loss, security issues and lacking in diverse facilities.

“The list is getting longer, and we can see a time when it will be beyond economic repair.

“As a result the committee has decided to take the first steps on a rebuild project that will hopefully extend our occupancy at this wonderful ground for another 100-plus years.

Knutsford Guardian:

“At the same time we aim to enhance its attractiveness, and of course upgrade the pavilion to modern standards.

“Our target for completing the project is 2028, our 100th birthday, however if we could do it before we would love to do so.

“We launch our initial fundraising with a dinner with Sir Ian Botham and Geoff Miller, with the aim of looking to raise the funds over the next five years in a variety of ways, including external grants like Sport England, dinners, sponsorship and donations.

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“The aim is for there to be pledges from individuals and businesses to launch the fundraising and to raise between £30,000 and £40,000.

“We have put in a pre-planning application, along with consulting with many groups over the past nine months, including neighbours, community groups who use the pavilion, Knutsford Town Council and the Mayor, Cheshire East, Cheshire Cricket Board, ECB and our landlords Bruntwood.

Knutsford Guardian:

The current pavilion

“We have very strong links with the community, with more than 200 events in the clubhouse outside cricket activity, including the luncheon club, Bridge club and many other events, including christenings and parties.

“We have also jointly run for 20 years an annual summer ball with all the Knutsford primary schools, which I am sure many Guardian readers will have fond memories of over the years.”