As Taunton celebrated the arrival of three world class cricket matches as part of the Cricket World Cup, St. James Church, who have been next door neighbours to the Somerset County Cricket Ground since 1881, decided to join in the celebrations and offer something special of their own for visitors.
The church and tower were opened to welcome visitors and locals alike. Those popping in not only received a very warm welcome, a chance to look round the church and some delicious home made cake. Those who ventured to the top of the tower were rewarded something extra special – a stunning view of the cricket pitch from 120 feet up.
Over the 3 match days, dozens took up the challenge to climb the tower to see the fantastic view of the town and of course the on pitch action.
Jenny Wakefield is the Outreach Coordinator.
“We thought it would be worth opening up the church and tower, putting on display of local history, and one about cricket with refreshments and see what happened. We really did not know what to expect, it was a bit “like putting our nets down on the other side of the Boat in faith”John 21 v 6.
So with a mound of cakes we were sure would never be eaten and a team of faithful volunteers, we put the word out. It was great! We had a steady stream of people coming in and most wanted to climb to the top. We had two organists who seeing Organ asked if the could have a go, so on three or four occasions the church also had music playing. We had people coming in from all nationalities. Several camera crews climbed up, squeezing their kit up the narrow stairs, and broadcasting short pieces (my daughter in Australia picked up the pictures!).
We had a group of refugees with their supporters, and I think my highlight was sharing a pan of samosas with a lovely Indian gentleman who brought his dinner up to see the final overs before lunch. The most enthusiastic were the Bangladeshi’s who managed to get a large flag up to wave as they cheered their team as the last ball was bowled and their team was triumphant.
All the cakes were eaten and we have been able to donate over £400 to Street Pastor and Rail Responders, who were on duty throughout the period supporting people in the town centre and at the railway station.
It was a great atmosphere in the town, which was commented by lots of people, somehow cricket seemed bring out the best in people in terms of friendliness and genuine enjoyment.”