Guest of honour James Hildreth cuts the ribbon to officially open The Holt at Budleigh Salterton CC.

Four years of planning, construction and delivery culminated in the official opening of The Holt, Budleigh Salterton CC's new home, on Sunday.

Over 600 people of all ages attended the day and were entertained in the warm sunshine by a variety of cricket, face painting, soft play, bouncy castles and music, in addition to being fed and watered by a very busy BBQ and the club's two main bars.

A unique programme of cricket showcasing the club's commitment to the local and wider community was provided for spectators with a junior match kicking off proceedings.

This was followed by Budleigh Salterton CC’s women’s team participating in a Visual Impairment cricket demonstration from Somerset Visual Impairment Cricket. The women's team donned sight-limiting goggles to replicate the difficulties of playing sport with limited vision.

Budleigh Salterton Women donned sight-limiting goggles in a Visual Impairment cricket demonstration. credit: Budleigh Salterton CC

The day culminated in a very closely contested Chairman's XI vs Otters XI T25 match.

The guest of honour on the day was former Somerset CCC captain James Hildreth who, along with Lord and Lady Clinton and Nicola Lady Clinton, Budleigh Salterton CC's two youngest cricketers Lara Campbell and Hettie Chatterton, and most senior cricketer, Neil Murrin, officially opened The Holt. The local Brass Sounds quintet provided accompanying music to the ceremony.

James Hildreth was the guest of honour on the day. credit: Budleigh Salterton CC

Club Secretary Bill Roper welcomed everyone to the opening saying: "The Holt provides local people with a modern, state-of-the-art building and community hub that is unique in the south of England and one that is welcoming and accessible to everyone to enjoy not only playing and watching cricket, but also a wide range of social events."

Bill said he was "blown away at the day's turnout and support from the local community, members and friends. And we were blessed by sunshine all day!"

Neil Murrin and Bill Roper of Budleigh Salterton CC at the official opening of the Holt.

Club Chairman Joel Murphy noted in his opening speech that "a project of this scale, ambition and complexity required a large number of people along the journey, helping with and shaping the vision, concept, design, planning and construction stages, with a variety of skill sets to complete each of these interlinking sequences successfully."

Joel thanked New Space Architects and builder GD Construction, and the "many, many volunteers and helpers that have selflessly given more than 20,000 hours of their own time to make The Holt the astonishing success it has quickly become."

Budleigh Salterton CC Chairman, Joel Murphy, speaks at the official opening of the Holt.Joel also paid tribute to the generosity of Lord Clinton and his family, Clinton Devon Estates, club members, players, local businesses and the wider Budleigh Salterton community for their financial and material support in completing the project.

James Hildreth, who played for the Chairman's XI, commented at the end of an amazing day how astonished he was at "what a small, volunteer-run cricket club has achieved. The cricket facilities alone are on a par with most English first-class grounds!"