A CHRISTCHURCH based cricket club which attempted to reach all 18 county championship grounds in England and Wales inside a month have actually managed it twice.

Thirty-three players from Mudeford Cricket Club, aged from their teens to their 70s set out to run or walk a combined miles 1008.6 miles - the equivalent distance from their home ground to Hampshire and then on to Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Essex, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Durham, Lancashire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Somerset – and back again.

But by the end of March, they had walked a total of 2,0017.6 miles – the entire route twice over.

The club staged the event to raise funds for the Macmillan Caring Locally charity which supports the palliative care unit at Christchurch Hospital.

Player Ryan Attree organised the event with social secretary Alex James.

Ryan said: “I think we’ve all surprised ourselves by what we have achieved.

“When we realised we were actually going to double our miles, we were amazed.

“And having raised a whopping £2,625 - also way above what we had aimed for - we are all feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.”

Proceeds are also being used to redecorate the dilapidated cricket pavilion in Ledbury Road.

Alex said: “It’s been a really inspiring way to keep fit and work together during the second lockdown and I think it’s really helped some of the members to get out in the fresh air and really contribute to something so worthwhile in these testing times.

“People have been very supportive and generous with their sponsorship.

“Our special thanks go to our neighbours, the members of The Mudeford Club, who sponsored us £500.”

To round off the fundraising challenge, Ryan Attree and Alex James ran the last couple of miles in full cricket gear including pads, gloves and cricket whites.

Secretary of The Mudeford Club Richard Leyshon said: “The players have made a fantastic effort. We look forward to hearing their heroic tales when we welcome them back to the Mudeford Club this summer.”

The main benefactor of the fundraiser, the Macmillan Caring Locally charity, supports the Macmillan Unit, which is based in the grounds of Christchurch Hospital and provides palliative care and support for over 1600 people and their families every year.

Neal Williams, Trust Secretary of Macmillan Caring Locally, said: “We knew the cricket club were going to beat their target, but I think everyone has been bowled over by their amazing efforts – excuse the pun!

“This is a spectacular achievement, and we are immensely grateful for their effort and support.”

You can still donate to the Mudeford Cricket Club event via the following link: https://t.co/wPIXRvMZ7A.