Former England batsman Nick Knight has hailed the town’s Victory Ground development as crucial to young sportsmen and women’s future.
Knight, who played for Essex and Warwickshire and is now a Sky Sports commentator, was speaking at a Sportsman Dinner, organised by Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club at South Lee School, to help raise funds for the development situated at Nowton Park.
The plans for the cricket ground, which include a sports hall, cricket pavilion and brand new sports centre is being funded as a public private partnership between South Lee School, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Bury Cricket Club and Sporting 87 Football Club.
The evening also saw a raffle and auction, including a private coaching session with Knight himself, take place, helping to raise funds for the development, with the 43-year-old thoroughly impressed with the plans in place.
“The development plans on show look fantastic,” he said.
“I’ve only seen the work that has begun, over the last two days having been away and what has gone up in those two months looks fantastic.
“On a personal level I’m also very excited because I have a son at the school who will have access to the facilities and using them a lot I’m sure.”
Having reached the international stage himself, featuring in 17 Test Matches and 100 One Day Internationals, Knight is adamant that developments such as the Victory Ground are imperative to give future stars the opportunity to emulate his success.
“Having that support for young players in particular is crucial,” he added.
“I was lucky enough to be able to play the game that I loved and dreamt about as a kid and a big part of achieving that is about facilities and coaches and people being prepared to spend the time with young players.
“It is going to be absolutely crucial for any young talent to be able to get into those nets and use those facilities.
“I’m not aware of many facilities locally that could rival the plans in place and so that can only be good for players living around here.
“There are bound to be so many kids around here locally that are just itching to get involved in those facilities and desperate to see what opportunities they can grab from it.
“It will create a chance to see how much better they can become because of those opportunities, who knows they might surprise themselves where they can get to.”
n While the majority of the core funding is in place for the development, the project are still looking for donations through a recently set up appeal.
By paying a specific minimum set out in four categories, Bronze (£25+), Silver (£100+), Gold (£250+) and Platinum (£1000+), names will be placed on the donation board within the new building to be seen for years to come.
For details, please contact David Barker on 0787 6496064 or firstname.lastname@example.org