Cricket ground tour aiming to help Ollie from Lyneham walk

Groundsmen John Wilkins and Chris Chapman with Ollie Baker and his brother Joshua, six

Groundsmen John Wilkins and Chris Chapman with Ollie Baker and his brother Joshua, six

First published in News by

Groundsmen John Wilkins and Chris Chapman plan to tackle a tour of England’s top cricket pitches in aid of three-year-old Ollie Baker, who needs more than £24,300 for an operation to help him walk.

Goatacre friends Mr Wilkins, 54, and Mr Chapman, 30, hope to raise at least £5,000 for Ollie from Lyneham, who suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy which means the muscles in his legs are always tight.

They have arranged to visit all 18 of England’s first class county grounds in four days.

Ollie’s dad Stephen, 42, has been a member of Goatacre Cricket Club for 26 years and often uses his skills as a builder working at Haines Construction in Calne to help with club maintenance.

Mr Wilkins said: “An operation will give Ollie a much better quality of life. At the moment he’s three years old and he can’t walk. The thing with Steve is he’s always the first to volunteer for anything that needs doing so this is our way of helping him.

“They’re over half way towards their target for the operation but after that he needs intensive physiotherapy at £160 an hour to teach him to walk. We’re just trying to give him the best chance we can.”

The tour starts on March 18 with a visit to county pitches in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Glamorgan, and will end with visits to Kent, Sussex and Hampshire.

The pair have been sponsored by Malmesbury company Custom Transformers Limited. They are looking forward to meeting familiar face Mike Hunt at Lord’s. Members of the Goatacre Cricket Club played at Lord’s in 1988 and 1990 when they won the national village cup and Mr Hunt still works there as a groundsman.

Email john.wilkins13@yahoo. co.uk for a sponsorship form.

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