Cricketers back county's upmarket image

By Ted JeoryTWO Essex cricketers have said they are fed up with the county's “white stiletto” image and have backed a campaign to transform its reputation.

By Ted Jeory

TWO Essex cricketers have said they are fed up with the county's “white stiletto” image and have backed a campaign to transform its reputation.

Paul Grayson and Graham Napier believe the home of the “Essex Girl” deserves to be taken seriously after years of ridicule.

The region's development and regeneration agency has announced it is offering £37,000 a year to a project director who will be a “key player in transforming the Essex cultural landscape”.


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Grayson, who moved to Essex from Yorkshire 10 years ago, said: “It was a bit of a culture shock to start with.

“I think the Essex girls get a bad reputation, which is very unfair. If you look around the country you'll have all sorts of girls in all cities.

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“There are some excellent schools in Essex and the girls always seem to come out on top with fantastic results in the education tables.”

He added: “I find Essex people to be very friendly. Where I live in the north of the county is a very attractive area, with lovely villages, pubs and restaurants.

“My family is very settled down here and haven't got a problem with Essex at all.”

Colchester-born Napier also praised the county, saying: “There is plenty of culture in Essex if you look deep enough.

“Essex people always have a smile on their face no matter what. Jodie Marsh is a perfect example of that as she is always smiling, very pleasant and polite.”

The new project director will manage the development of and champion the Essex cultural tourism programme, a new three-year partnership funded by Essex councils and Art Council England, East, to promote the county as a significant cultural destination.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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