The sale of EMPICS and our departure from the business coincided with a move to a new village. Knipton is at the centre of the Belvoir Estate – an area of 16,000 acres owned but the Duke of Rutland. The rural idyll is nice – but with so much private land, there are limited public footpaths and very few community amenities.
Knipton did have a cricket club – and I saw some youngsters playing there so took my 8 year old son along to see if he could join in. The club had only just started junior cricket again after a gap of some years. They had an Under-11 side – but it became clear that they could not accommodate children this young. It was frustrating – however, in true entrepreneurial spirit, I decided that I should put my energies to start something to accommodate youngsters.
During this exploration, I met Darren Bicknell – the ex-Nottinghamshire Captain and Surrey cricketer – who was then working for another sporting trust in Nottinghamshire. Darren suggested that the project could follow the lines of John Barclay’s work at the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation. John’s efforts, starting in 1985 – and supported by the likes of Colin Cowdrey and Sir Paul Getty – have used cricket to bring children out of cities and into the countryside.
In the summer of 2008, we organised a fundraising match between the Duke of Rutland XI (newly formed!) and a Sir Richard Hadlee XI to gauge interest in setting up the Belvoir Castle Cricket Trust. This event raised over £5,000 and engaged the interest of many people in the cricket community including Tony Lewis, the late Bill Frindall and Jonathan Agnew.
In the autumn of that year, Darren became available – and with him as Director we decided to take the plunge and create the Trust as a registered charity.
Founding and chairing the charity is a refreshing use of my entrepreneurial spirit. It’s the same as any small business – funding and cashflow are always an issue. It’s had fantastic support from many sources, most notably the MCC Foundation and Samworth family – as well as the charity’s patron Her Grace the Duchess of Rutland. We’ve also managed to engage with a wider cricketing community – from Sir Tim Rice to Mike Gatting. It’s a credit to the very hard work of the Trust Director Darren Bicknell and Assistant Director Nina Coverley. I am pleased to have made a difference.
My last “proper job” was in 1983-5. I was a photographer at the Leicester Mercury. It was one of the most enjoyable times of my life. Working within a community, making connections, then gradually gaining trust and respect is a rewarding process.
In 1981, I started my first job after school as a Trainee Press Photographer at Mercury Press Agency in Liverpool. I’d not bargained for my first week in employment to involve the coverage of some of the worst rioting on mainland Britain. I’ll always remember the phone ringing late at night after the family had […]
I lived in a council house on the ring road in Liverpool (Queens Drive) – and had very supportive parents (although I might not have thought so at the time). I went to a Catholic Boys’ Grammar School, St Francis Xavier’s – I and was very religious (up until the moment I was 18 – […]
In 1985, I was a 22-year-old press photographer in a well-paid and rewarding job at the Leicester Mercury. I had excellent colleagues – and a very comfortable life. However, it was not enough for me – and I wanted to work for National Newspapers and create my own business. So I set out to create […]
It’s amazing how easy it is to take and send high-quality photos these days. You can pick up an iPhone, take a snap and with a couple of clicks send the image around the world. It wasn’t always that simple – here’s a tale from 1985 (just over 25 years ago) when taking and transmitting […]