MELKSHAM Cricket Club members are celebrating after winning a share of a £1 million youth charity giveaway.

The club is one of three organisations in Wiltshire to be given £5,000 by housebuilder Persimmon Wessex as part of the Persimmon Homes Building Futures campaign.

The club will use the cash to help install a new all weathers cricket net system for the local community to use.

Chairman Gary Burns said the award was a "fantastic boost" in a season hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and a drop in income.

He said: "This award is a huge contribution towards safeguarding the future of the Club and in helping us achieve our continued aim of growing the interest in cricket around Melksham and providing the facilities to match this ambition."

The club, represented sport for Persimmon Homes Wessex, while Wiltshire Treehouse represented health, and Quest for Learning in Didcot education & arts.

The three were among the 96 organisations to reach the final stage of Persimmon’s Building Futures competition.

The club fields a 1st XI league team which plays in Division 4 of the Wiltshire County Cricket League following promotion in 2018.

It also has a new 2nd XI which plays in Division 9 of the Wiltshire County Cricket League.

A T20 side play friendlies on Wednesday evenings and a youth section provides cricket for youngsters of all abilities, both boys and girls.

Practice sessions are on a Friday evening at the club’s Melksham House ground. It provides two training sessions, one for under 8s and one for over 8s.

During April and May, the Persimmon Building Futures fund also gave away £1,000 each to 128 organisations supporting young people in sport, education and arts and health throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Julian Roper, director in charge at Persimmon Homes Wessex, said: “The Building Futures scheme has been a great success.

“It is wonderful to celebrate the fantastic work of so many organisations supporting young people in our communities.

“We have been overwhelmed by both the response to the competition, and the hard work and dedication of those involved within all the groups.”

Three finalists were each awarded the top prize of £100,000, three the second prize of £50,000 and three the third prize of £20,000. The remaining finalists were handed £5,000 each.

The first, second and third prize winners were decided by a public vote and around 400,000 votes were cast.

The winners were announced during a virtual event, presented by Dame Katherine Grainger, chair of UK Sport and Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, alongside Persimmon Homes Group CEO Dean Finch.

The final was watched online by around 1,500 people.

The £100,000 prize winner in the sport category was Northampton Swimming Club, while Ringsfield Hall Eco Activity Centre secured the award for education & arts and The Children’s Hospital Charity won for health.

The second prize of £50,000 went to KD Gymnastics for sport, North Music Trust at Sage Gateshead for education and arts and Little Hearts Matter for health.

In third place, Afan Lido Ladies & Girls’ FC scooped £20,000 for sport, with Derian House Children’s Hospice receiving the health award and Refugee Action winning for education and arts.