Visitors to Garon Park for this year’s Essex AutoGroup Southend Cricket
Festival (Wednesday 30th July to Sunday 3rd
August) will see a number of changes from last year and more
developments are planned over the next couple of years. The aim is not
only to improve spectator comfort and facilities for first class cricket
but also to develop the ground as a Centre of Cricketing Excellence for
the whole of South Essex.
Thanks to generous financial support from the Norman Garon Trust and the
Essex & Southend Sports Trust (EASST) permanent security fencing has now
been installed to separate the cricket facility from the rest of the
park and boundary fences have been built behind the boundary rope.
Outdoor nets are currently being built adjacent to the pavilion and are
expected to be open for the 2008 Festival and be available for local
school and community use thereafter. County cricket has been played in
Southend for over a hundred years so the building of proper practice
nets is long overdue!
Essex CCC has also improved the kitchens and the inside of the Pavilion
for use at the various second X1, academy and inter-county age group
matches for boys and girls that are now a regular part of the Garon Park
Planning permission has also been obtained for an electronic scoreboard
to be attached to a store-house for grounds man's equipment at the golf
driving range end of the ground. The planners have also agreed to an
imaginative scheme to use infill from nearby developments to construct a
mezzanine viewing level half way between ground level and the top of the
bowl. This will allow spectators to have an elevated view nearer to the
boundary edge. Installation of this level will allow distribution of
water and electricity to more points round the ground and we then intend
to plant more trees and hedges. Hopefully these changes will be ready
for the 2009 season.
Funds from the public appeal organised by EASST are still being used to
finance the cost of a full time grounds man who lives adjacent to Garon
Park. The square has been extended and turned and the quality of the
outfield is amazing compared with the problems local club cricketers
found in fielding there just a few years ago.
But extra funds are desperately needed to keep the project moving. We
need more Garon Park patrons prepared to donate £25 a month or £300 a
year to EASST under the gift aid scheme. One off donations of any amount
would be very welcome. EASST continues to match all public donations
pound for pound so with tax relief a single donation of £50 would add
£128 to available funds. Donations should be made out to EASST and may
be sent to the club office at the Ford County Ground. Patron forms are
available from the club office or contact Perry Norton (01245 254000) or
Joe Sims (Trustee) for more information.