Some 1500 lorry loads of earth and rubble from nearby
building works were delivered to the site in the autumn to create a new
mezzanine spectator facility around the ground. This area is currently
being re-seeded. A new storage space for ground equipment is under
construction at the end opposite the pavilion and an electronic
scoreboard has been ordered to attach to this new structure.
The poor winter weather has caused some delays but it is
hoped this will be completed well ahead of August's Essex AutoGroup
Southend Cricket Festival.
The next stage of the project is a plan to plant some
1000 trees and hedge plants inside the perimeter fence which separates
the cricket ground from adjacent facilities. An irrigation system is
being installed and we expect to revive most of the oak trees planted a
few years ago.
This project is now well underway thanks to the
magnificent support of three long-term Southendbased members. Mike
Bradley, who lives in Leigh and runs Claremont Nurseries at Woodham
Mortimer in Maldon, has generously arranged for the nursery to donate
all the trees and plants for the project free of charge. At the time of
writing he is personally supervising the planting of a laurel hedge
round the new outdoor nets and behind the pavilion. In January he
provided over 100 fast-growing poplar lombardy trees. These were all
planted by Great Wakering farmers and Essex cricket lovers Pendril and
Arthur Bentall. Further planting will take place next winter.
"I would like to publicly thank these three for their
tremendous help and support," says Peter Butler, Chairman of the Essex
AutoGroup Southend Cricket Festival. “This is typical of the nthusiasm
in the Southend area to create a Centre of Cricketing Excellence in
south Essex and continue the tradition of county cricket visiting the
town, which has been going on since 1906." "The County's financial
support for this project is very limited, as resources need to be
conserved for the Ground Development Project at Chelmsford, but thanks
to the success of our fund-raising appeal to the public in Southend, and
the generous contributions from the Norman Garon Trust and Essex &
Southend Sports Trust, we are able to make steady progress. We always
thought this would be a ten-year project. The 2009 Festival will be the
fifth at Garon Park, so we are getting there."
”Every festival at Garon Park to date has generated a
profit for the county club but with the current financial crisis we are
going to have to work really hard in 2009 and hope members will help us