Essex and England star Alastair Cook to visit Copdock & OI cricket club on Saturday

Alastair Cook will visit Copdock & OI this weekend

Alastair Cook will visit Copdock & OI this weekend - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former England captain Alastair Cook will be visiting Copdock & Old Ipswichian on Saturday for a ‘Ground Force meets Changing Rooms’ style makeover.

Martin Taylor at Copdock & OI Cricket Club

Martin Taylor at Copdock & OI Cricket Club - Credit: Archant

The club, whose first team play in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League, has been chosen as one of only three ‘showcase’ clubs across the country for this year’s NatWest CricketForce.

It is the biggest annual volunteering event in UK sport, and is aimed at rejuvenating clubs’ facilities through encouraging supporters, their families and friends, and local businesses to give something back to their local club.

Copdock will get a visit from former England Ashes winning skipper Mike Gatting, who it has been confirmed will be joined on the day by Essex batsman Cook.

Martin Taylor, Copdock’s development officer, contacted NatWest CricketForce to see if it could help the club with phase three of its pavilion redevelopment.

He said: “We have so far raised more than £100,000 ourselves through fundraising events, our ‘Buy a Brick’ scheme and private donations towards the cost of the four-phase development.

“Phase one, which cost £62,000, saw the building of new changing rooms, while phase two has involved the reconfiguration of the social area inside the pavilion at a cost of £140,000.

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“Phase three is improving the whole area outside the clubhouse other than the pitch itself, which would cost us around £20,000.

“This is what we will be doing on the day with ten small projects planned including a new patio being laid and new fencing erected among other things.”

Taylor said the sons and daughters of the first 50 parents from the club to register will receive two hours’ coaching from 11am-1pm from the club’s coaches as well as the England player.

However, anyone is welcome to turn up on the day, which starts at 9am, and get involved, with everyone receiving a free T-shirt, hot drink and bacon roll. Work will begin at 10am after a formal briefing.

There will be photograph and autograph opportunities between 1pm and 2pm, when lunch will also be provided.

Taylor added: “Hopefully by the time we all go home after finishing at 4pm we will have completed the ten projects.”

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