Ray Grocott, the president of Prees Cricket & Recreation Club, has been recognised by committee members for the contribution he has made over the last 25 years to the on-going success of the thriving community club.
To mark the level of support Ray has provided, the club’s busy lounge has been named the Ray Grocott Bar and Lounge. Ray was joined by a number of his grandchildren to unveil a commemorative plaque.
The inscription read: ‘Ray Grocott Bar/Lounge - Drive and determination, fuelled by a deep-rooted sense of community spirit’.
Ray’s energy and support for the club have been unerring. In the early 2000s, he led the project to re-site and totally rebuilt the clubhouse, through the sale of land owned by the club to generate construction funds. The new clubhouse was opened in 2005 and it quickly became the hub of village life in Prees.
Since 2005, both personally and through his former business Grocontinental, Ray has donated a total of £164,000 which also generated an additional £41,000 of Gift Aid funding claimed by the club through its registered charity status.
This funding has contributed towards floodlighting, maintenance equipment and the installation of solar panels to take advantage of renewable heat incentive payments.
Ray said the community made the club what it is.
“The club is all about people," he said. "We currently have 18 football teams operating out of the club, all being run by volunteers, which for a small village is outstanding.
"The great facilities we have mean that people want to come here. We have a great sense of community.”
In 2020, Ray’s backing helped to inject new life into the club when the clubhouse underwent a refurbishment programme, the extensive car park was also resurfaced and a new building to house maintenance equipment was constructed and fitted-out.
Ray has also sponsored a number of high-profile bowling events staged at the club over recent years including the Floodlit Open Doubles Championship, the National Doubles Open and the prestigious Jack & Jean Isherwood National Seniors Tournament.
Although Ray has been active in securing the future of the club in recent years as both chairman and president, his association with the club began as far back as the late 1940s when he was just a teenager playing football with his mates. Later, as a keen sportsman, he also represented the club at both football and cricket.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new plaque in Ray’s honour, club chairman Vincent Lines said: “Ray’s business acumen, drive and determination to see things through have resulted in the great facilities we have here today. If it hadn’t been for Ray, developments like the superb clubhouse and the many new projects we’ve undertaken would never have happened.
“Sport brings people together; you meet friends and it’s an education too. This is what the many youngsters who come here get from being involved with the club and this is all down to Ray.”
Membership of the club is open to anyone. For full details see the club’s website www.preesrecclub.co.uk.