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Cricketer steps out for Whitminster in walking challenge

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By Steve Hill

ROSS Wakely is preparing to complete a 100-mile ultra marathon to help raise funds for Whitminster’s new pavilion.

The 44-year-old will set off along the Thames Path at 9am on Saturday (May 6) from Richmond with the hope of crossing the finishing line in Oxford city centre around 24 hours later.

His challenge is part of the cricket club’s Crowdfunding effort to reach a target of £10,000 towards a new pavilion after their aging home was recently deemed unsafe for use this summer.

Ross, the club’s All Stars Activator and a member of the first XI for the last 11 seasons, is also a hugely experienced runner who last year completed his first TP100, in 25 hours.

He’s clocked up around 650 miles in training since the start of the new year in the hope of improving on that time and doing his bit to help Whitminster who are desperate to have a new pavilion in place before the start of the 2024 campaign.

Ross, pictured with 11-year-old son and junior player Charlie, said: “We’ve known for a while that the pavilion wasn’t in great shape – we’ve had it since the 1980s and think the structure is about 100 years old – but just a few weeks ago it became apparent that some areas are now dangerous.

“There’s a school just behind the club and they’ve been absolutely brilliant, offering to open up and let us use classrooms as temporary changing rooms. But we have to sort out something for the longer term and obviously pretty quickly.”

The Gloucestershire County League club share the pavilion with Cotswold Rangers Football Club, and both are working closely with Whitminster Village Hall and the Playing Field Charity Committee on the proposed new facility.

Important conversations are also taking place with Stroud District Council while the Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation are offering advice and guidance on potential funding options.

Ross added: “Local clubs have been very supportive, reaching out to offer help, and we’ve even had support from (Gloucestershire and England legend) Jack Russell.

“Jack played with my Dad, Chris, many years ago at Stroud and he’s very kindly retweeted stuff for us and offered to help with fundraising, as has my cousin Alex who last year retired from playing for Northamptonshire.

“My run is just one element of a lot of fundraising ideas we have and there’s a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes to ensure we end up with a new home that will work well for us and the football club and become an important facility for the community.

“We started up junior cricket here four years ago, and All Stars and Dynamos have been very popular, we often have more than 50 youngsters running around here on a Friday night.

“They’re the future of the club and we want to make the new facility brilliant for them.”

To support Ross and Whitminster, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/whitminster-pavilion/

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