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Milford pavilion renamed to honour groundsman and cricket chair Chris Walford

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A MILFORD sports pavilion has been renamed to honour a longstanding groundskeeper.

The structure at the Barnes Lane recreation ground was officially renamed the Chris Walford Pavilion during a celebration attended by representatives from the cricket and football clubs.

Chris said he was honoured and surprised, adding: “I have put great efforts in over the years so it is really pleasing to see the pavilion being used so well and benefitting the community.”

The pavilion was renamed to honour longstanding groundsman Chris Walford
The pavilion was renamed to honour longstanding groundsman Chris Walford

As well as being chair of Milford Cricket Club for many years, Chris has undertaken much of the groundswork and cricket square preparation. Although adult cricket has not been played at Milford during the pandemic, it is hoped that by next summer a full team could be fielded.

Girls cricket has thrived in the last 18 months after husband and wife Carolyn and Stuart Brown began coaching a group of seven to 11-year-olds. Girls now play at county and district level as well as for New Milton Falcons.

A thank you card from the Milford girls cricket team read: “We just wanted to say thank you so much for looking after the rec for so many years.

“None of us knew how to play cricket, but because you looked after the rec, we were all able to learn during the lockdown and as there was nothing else to do it was fantastic. I don’t think any of us really believed how much we would grow to love cricket – but we do, so this is a really big thank you.”

Milford parish clerk Graham Wells said: “Chris is a major reason why the Barnes Lane recreation ground is one of Milford’s greatest assets. He almost single-handedly built the pavilion, prepared the playing surface and has maintained the square for some top class teams to play on for the last 33 years.

“When I put it to the parish council that the pavilion should be renamed in honour of Chris, they were unanimous in the decision.”

Before unveiling the new pavilion plaque, Mr Wells also revealed improvement plans at Barnes Lane including new equipment, storage areas and an artificial wicket.

He said: “All this positive progress will be built on the incredible work Chris has done over the last three decades.”

Andrew Smith, chair of Milford Youth FC, added: “I would just like to thank Chris for the remarkable work and dedication he has shown in maintaining this ground so well for so many years.

“His work has helped the whole of Milford’s adult and junior football and cricket teams to progress. We as a football club are very, very grateful to him.”

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