Landmark to close pavilion on Sunday

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Past and present players will gather in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday to mark the closure of one of the town’s most iconic landmarks.

Cricketers who have all played at the Victory Ground for Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club will come together to celebrate the end of an era as the pavilion is used for the final time.

The pavilion, which has stood on the Nowton Road ground since it was opened in 1921, is being replaced by a new pavilion and sports hall.

Bury St Edmunds CC has organised a programme of entertainment throughout the day, starting from 11.30am, involving a series of games between past and present players on the club’s two squares.

Paul Whittaker, chairman of Bury St Edmunds CC, said: “There will be a few tears shed as we close the old pavilion but great pride in what we have achieved in creating the fantastic new facilities.

“Players from all over the area are coming to celebrate and say goodbye to the old pavilion.

“We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to this historic event.

“We are hoping for a great turnout from all the players and their families who have used this wonderful old building as we say goodbye to it forever.”

Among the players who have confirmed their attendance are ex-Suffolk stars Andy Brown, Ian Graham, Russell Green, Kevin Shaw and Chris Warn plus current players Simon Rees and Tom Rash.

They will be joined by former Bury players such as Pat Barker, Ralph Campbell, Craig Estlea, Adi Garnham, Mark Geeves, Richard Goodenough, Mark Nunn, Craig Rutterford, Darrin Steward and Mike Sturgeon.

Those attending but not playing include former Bury trio Keith Offord, Peter Over and Guy Robins plus ex-Suffolk skippers Mark Bailey and Phil Caley, along with players from opposing clubs.

The club’s longest-serving player Kevin Dobson, who is now 55 and has skippered the third XI for the last five years, said: “It will be a shame to see the old pavilion go. 

“I have played at the Vic since I was 15 — I started in the Old Westgate Brewery side playing with the likes of Herbert and John Hargreaves, Martin Cork, Arthur Cutter, Bobby Flack and Roger Howlett, and this is my 40th consecutive playing season at Bury now.

“The first few years I played there was before the first extension was built.

“I remember that swallows used to nest under the veranda and you had to look out where you sat... and wear a hat!

“I think the new facility is fantastic and was desperately needed but it will take many years to get used to not having the old pavilion around.”

Drinks will be sold from the old pavilion during the course of the day before and after a ceremonial closing takes place around 2pm, with the cricket continuing until around 5pm.

During the afternoon, the club will also be organising tours around the new pavilion which, together with a sports hall, is being built at a cost of £2.1m and due to be completed in November.

The club would welcome stories and photographs on the day.