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Can you help Dereham Cricket Club’s urgent search for its mystery trustees?

08:35 12 June 2014

Alan Bliss (left) and Neil Irons at Dereham Cricket Club

Alan Bliss (left) and Neil Irons at Dereham Cricket Club

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An urgent appeal has been launched to find any surviving relatives of Dereham Cricket Club’s long-lost trustees – because the club’s growth ambitions are “hamstrung” without them.

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A three-year plan has been drawn up to raise the profile of the team, to boost youth development, to encourage greater use of the facilities and to cement the club at the heart of the town’s social, sporting and business community.

But although the club owns its Norwich Street home ground, the mystery surrounding its trustees has left it on a sticky wicket when it comes to the funding applications which will be vital to its ambitions.

A Declaration of Trust drawn up in 1950 gave legal rights on decisions relating to the running of the ground to four trustees – rights which would then pass to their direct descendents.

All four trustees are now dead, and the club has no idea who – or where – their relatives are. Until they can be found, the club cannot install new trustees who can oversee funding applications.

According to the 1950 document, the trustees were:

-Frederick Bruce Rennie Cooke, of Orwell House, Norwich Road, Dereham, an engineer.

-Frederick Granger Masters of Stone Road, Toftwood, a dairyman.

-Herbert Richard Warren, of Rookery Farm, Dereham, an auctioneer.

-Claude Charles Cordle, of 33 High Street, Dereham, an ironmonger. Mr Cordle is a former captain who died in 1999 and is commemorated on a bench in front of the pavilion.

Alan Bliss, the club’s grants and funding officer, said: “We are absolutely hamstrung until we get this resolved. We could get in touch with the land registry, but we don’t want to do that until we have had a good go at flushing these people out, if they exist. We need them to come forward and agree to give up what this document confers upon them.

“If there are any of the relations of these people still living in Dereham, then we need to hear from them. If they are interested in cricket then we will not turn them away, but we do have five people who are ready and waiting to become trustees.”

Dereham Cricket Club was founded in 1856, and its current committee are dedicated to a programme of improvements to boost the club’s status during the next three years.

It passed an inspection for Clubmark accreditation on Monday, and runs a total of seven cricket teams at all age levels, including three senior sides, while also running coaching sessions at schools.

There 50 adult players on the books, about 50 children at training sessions on Monday evenings, and 30 social members.

The pavilion building, previously unused during the winter months, now hosts business conferences, first aid courses, mother and toddler groups, and coffee mornings.

But central to the club’s ambitions are the purchase of a new set of training nets, which will cost £25,000.

Club chairman Neil Irons said: “We want this to be a community cricket club, and we want everyone in the town to be involved. We want it to be wall-to-wall people watching or playing cricket. We want more schools coming to use our facilities – if we can get those facilities right.

“We have got ownership of the field, but we cannot have dead trustees. It is a massive stumbling block whenever we go for funding. When we go for that big £25,000 grant, we’re stuffed. We need it now, but we cannot do anything until we have sorted this out.”

The club is looking for anyone who is related to the 1950 trustees, or has any information about them. The committee is also keen to hear from anyone interested in getting involved with the club – particularly female players who are interested in forming a ladies’ team.

Contact Neil Irons on 07748 302551 or Alan Bliss on 07860 367704.

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