The club was the first of its kind in the city set up by the Caribbean diaspora in the fifties
A report by Asha Patel for The Leicester Mercury.
A 64-year-old cricket club, home to some of the most diverse grassroots teams in Leicester, has welcomed a former cricketing great as their new patron.
Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club announced that former West Indies player, Sir Clive Lloyd has joined the club as a patron 40 years after cutting the ribbon at the opening of its first local facility.
The club was established in 1954 and played on Victoria Park for the first 24 years before the opening of the playing fields in Evington in 1981.
Many of the founding members were former servicemen and new arrivals of the Windrush generation, who the current club chair and former player George Martin, said had “the game in their blood”.
Not only did the club help to break down cultural barriers and racial tensions in the city, it quickly became widely successful, winning multiple trophies in numerous leagues in the county and across the country.
“That generation propelled us into success,” George said.
The club and charity’s new patron, Sir Clive Lloyd, had a career within the sporting world spanning over 50 years.
He gained recognition for his achievements as a batsman, bowler and captain during his time playing for the West Indies, Lancashire County Club and his native, Guyana cricket teams.
He was inducted into the International Cricket Council hall of fame in 2006 and received a knighthood for his services to cricket in the 2020 New Years Honours.
The former cricketer said: “I am pleased to be joining the Leicester Caribbean Cricket and Social Club as their patron.
They provide valuable recreational and community activities to the local community, and I am committed to assisting them to develop and grow the Club, inspiring generations of people to enjoy the game of cricket.”
Clive Lloyd was not the only international player to meet the grassroots club in its earlier days. Due to its reputation, the club hosted the entire West Indies team during visits to the UK.
When they played in England, the West Indies team visited Leicester to spend evenings at the club’s Ethel Road home – signing autographs, meeting the grassroots players and enjoying food and drinks – a longstanding tradition of the club.
Today it still serves as the cornerstone of the local community as a social hub at its premises in Evington in addition to hosting all-age-group teams.
Throughout the pandemic, the club has also provided ongoing mental health support to team members and the wider community.
Now, with the help of Clive Lloyd’s patronage, Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club hopes to build on its achievements over the last 64 years.
Chair of club, George Martin said: “Having Clive Lloyd as our new patron is a huge incentive for the club.
“To have someone of that status coming to support us is fantastic – especially as it comes in a year that we are looking to move forward.”
Since the club’s early days, its facilities have remained mostly the same, leaving the pavilion and clubhouse looking tired and dilapidated.
It is planning to undertake a large-scale fundraising campaign towards a new clubhouse in time for the club’s 65th anniversary next year.
The landmark moment will be celebrated with a special event which will mark the history, heritage and achievements of the club.
George also told LeicestershireLive that he hopes new facilities will bring back young players who have left for other clubs.
He said: “So many young players have come through this club but sadly some are moving on to others.”
Until last year, chairman George said the club was mostly responsible for its own funding but the pandemic opened doors to small grants which have helped see them through the last 12 turbulent months.
He told LeicestershireLive: “What we need now is to be able to modernise the club. Some players even say they would come back if we had better facilities.
“We have all the plans – we just need the funding.”
The appointment of Clive Lloyd as patron is expected to be “instrumental” to the club and charity as fundraising plans are underway.l