A cricket club has risen from the ashes following a devastating fire which threatened its future.
Six years ago Seaham Park Cricket Club saw its clubhouse destroyed by a blaze and officials say the organisation was one meeting away from going out of existence.
Most of the club’s old committee packed in after the fire but the junior committee got back together to keep it going.
Three years were spent using a portacabin, with the club getting council support with insurance money to get a new club built.
During the 1st three years, the club only had one under 11s junior team.
But the last three years, the club has dramatically grown and now has senior teams as well as an under nine, under 11, under 13, under 15 and under 18 sides, and a hugely successful ECB All Stars programme.
The club signed up to the programme and in the first two years it has engaged 135 children aged four to nine, 35% of which are girls.
The junior aim for next year is to develop the girls cricket further and play more competitive games, while it has also secured funding to build high quality outdoor training nets to develop the club’s players at all levels.
The club has now created a partnership with Seaham Rugby Club to create Seaham Sports Club and are in the final stages of securing a long-term lease from Seaham Town Council, which chiefs say will pave the way to secure funding to develop the club further.
The club celebrated its recent revival with an end of season junior presentation event at its ground, with Durham CCC bowler Chris Rushworth attending to meet young players.
Graeme Weeks from Durham County Cricket Board, said: “We have been delighted to witness the progression made with the Junior section at Seaham Park over the past two to three years.
“Through their hard-working, committed volunteers and coaches they have turned around a junior section that had very few players, into a vibrant and thriving one at all levels.
“In the very first year of ECB’s flagship participation programme All Stars, Seaham Park had 52 children taking part, the second highest in the county, which was a phenomenal achievement.
“Since then the club have continued to go from strength to strength and we look forward to working with them in the coming years as they continue to grow.”
MP Grahame Morris, who represents Easington, said: “Seaham Park Cricket Club are a credit to the community.
“Six years ago they faced an uncertain future; the fire and loss of the Pavilion would have seen many clubs fold.
“Today, Seaham Park Cricket Club are at the forefront of developing young cricketers of all ages.
“They are also doing exceptional work in developing women’s cricket with their youth development team which gives girls in Seaham and the wider area the opportunity to participate in cricket and other sports.
“The credit for this must go to the hard work and dedication of Seaham Park Cricket Club who, no matter the adversity or barriers faced, have remained committed to the community and the promotion of cricket.”