Groundsmen John Wilkins and Chris Chapman received a warm welcome at England’s top cricket grounds last week during a fundraising expedition for three-year Ollie Baker, of Lyneham.

The pair, from Goatacre Cricket Club, visited all 18 of England’s first class county grounds in aid of Ollie, who needs more than £24,000 for an operation to help him walk.

He suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy which means the muscles in his legs are always tight, and uses a walker to get around.

Mr Wilkins, 54, and Mr Chapman, 30, travelled 1,240 miles round the country, starting with Somerset and Gloucestershire and finishing at Sussex and Hampshire.

They met former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams, now cricket coach at Kent, and were given signed shirts for Ollie by the Sussex, Warwick and Essex cricket teams.

Mr Wilkins said: “The welcome we got from the county grounds was absolutely brilliant, they couldn’t have done more to help.

“I would say that Leicester gave us the warmest welcome. We met all the Leicester team because they were in training and they stopped for a photo.

“We’re pleased it actually worked out. There was a lot of planning, but the actual driving was quite straightforward. The only difficulty we had was using an old sat nav. We went straight past Old Trafford the first time.”

The pair’s cricket tour also inspired Wiltshire Council sports development officer Alex Muse to complete a ten-hour bike ride at County Hall in Trowbridge for Ollie.

Mr Muse, 24, from Bath, met Ollie, his mum Carol, his dad Stephen and his older brother Josh for the first time during the challenge on March 18.

He said: “It just struck a chord, the fact that Ollie can’t walk and do many of the things I take for granted.”

The events have raised £6,000, making the fundraising total between £22-£23,000, only a few thousand short of what Ollie needs.

Ollie’s mum Carol said: “We’re nearly there for the operation – we’ve just got a little bit more to go so we can cover his physiotherapy, but it’s looking really good.”

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