Lancashire Cricket League wins National Lottery Support

Lancashire Cricket League wins National Lottery Support

15 May 2017

The Lancashire Cricket League has received initial support from the National Lottery for its project ‘The Lancashire League Experience: Celebrating 125 Years of the Lancashire Cricket League’, it was announced today. The project aims to celebrate and preserve the heritage of the Lancashire Cricket League, which turns 125 years old in 2017.

Development funding of 28,600 pounds has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help the project to progress their plans across the League’s clubs in preparation for a full grant application of 338,100 pounds in 2018.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will celebrate the history and heritage of the League’s 17 clubs, covering a large swathe of Pennine Lancashire, flanked by Colne, Clitheroe, Darwen, Ramsbottom and just over the border to Todmorden.

The most famous cricket League in the world, the Lancashire League set a new world record for longevity in 2016 from 1897, the League’s membership of 14 clubs was unchanged for 120 years, no clubs leaving or joining. The admission of three new clubs Clitheroe, Darwen and Great Harwood in 2017, marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the League’s history and an appropriate watershed at which to celebrate its illustrious heritage.

In this year’s Development Phase the project will publicise activity plans, enlist the support of volunteers and professional organisations, and run two pilot projects.

The first of these involves providing local history education resources that teach local social history through the history of Accrington Cricket Club. The resources would be written in partnership with Sports Inspire Educational Publishing, which has recently provided similar resources for Hull as part of the City of Culture initiatives.

The second pilot project is the development of health-related activities, using reminiscence resources, discussion sessions and related activities to help spark memories about local cricket in the Rossendale Valley. Such sessions have proved to have health benefits for older people living with dementia, depression and loneliness. The Sporting Memories Foundation, the national leader in this field, has been engaged as a partner to advise and lead on this programme.

If the second application is successful, the pilot projects would be rolled out across all of the League’s clubs in 2018. The project would also hold a major exhibition and develop a new website, including an online museum of artefacts in clubs’ collections. A whole host of new volunteering opportunities would be created, including cataloguing the clubs’ collections with Lancashire Archives Service, capturing oral memories of local cricket and carrying out research. Aspects ripe for research include women’s cricket, which thrived in the area in the 1930s, local cricket in World War I, the pre-League histories of the clubs and the relationship between the Lancashire League and local football.

League Chairman Mike Bibby, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support and opportunity, and grateful to the thousands of National Lottery players who make this funding possible. The Lancashire League has been a hub of local life since 1892. Through the engagement of many world-class professionals over many years, it is famous across the globe, connecting local towns and villages to cricket internationally. In addition to preserving thousands of inspiring stories and cricketing artefacts, the project would strengthen relationships between clubs and communities, leaving legacies of increased resources, skills and knowledge. It would enhance the awareness, interest and pride in our League and its clubs, making them stronger and more resilient for years to come.”