Chris Read, batting for Devon against Shropshire last week<br>credit:

FRIENDS and former team-mates of Chris Read will be celebrating his career at a social event on August 16.

Reed, who is 39 later this year, is about to retire from First Class cricket having played for Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and England for two decades.

Queens Park, Paignton was where Reed first picked up a bat and a pair of wicket-keeping gloves while still at Roselands Primary School.

He developed through the youth teams then the 3rd XI and 2nd XI and into the first team by the age of 15.The teenaged Chris Read after winning the Brockman Cup final with Paignton 3rd XI in 1994

Devon League officials could see the star quality in Read: they named him young player of the year in 1995.

Read was playing for Devon by the time he was 16 and talent spotted by Gloucestershire, where he was an understudy to England keeper Jack Russell for a couple of years.

Opportunities at Bristol were few and far between with Russell the first choice and the capable Reggie Williams, who turned out for Torquay, ahead of Read in the pecking order.

Amazingly, Read’s First Class debut was not for his Gloucestershire, but England A during a tour of Sri Lanka in early 1998.

Read was already with Notts by then – he signed off in September 1997 with 148 in a second team game against Worcestershire – and his career flourished at Trent Bridge.

An England A tour to Pakistan kept Read in the selectors’ minds and when he made 160 against Warwickshire a fortnight before the first Test against New Zealand in 1999 there was an inevitability about an England call-up. It duly arrived and was memorable for Read taking eight victims behind the stumps – equalling a world record.

Read went on to play 16 Test matches, 36 one-day internationals and one T20 game for England. Quite a record!

Devon has produced a number of England players over the years – John Childs, Len Coldwell, Mark Lathwell, George Emmett and Ted Arnold are the best known – but none played as many times for their country as Read did.

The county captain - Chris Read Read has skippered Notts since 2008, firstly in all forms of the game and latterly in First Class and 50-over cricket.

Earlier this season Read led Notts to victory at Lord’s in the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup. As skipper he has lifted the County Championship, the Yorkshire Bank 40/40 Cup and the 50-over Royal London trophy.

All these achievements and more will be celebrated in the Queens Park pavilion at a social evening on August 16 when Read will be the guest of honour. The party starts at 7.00pm.

Paignton are hosting an ECB Cup game between Devon Under15s and Surrey during the day.

“It is an informal evening to celebrate Chris’ career,” said Paignton chairman and former team-mate Tim Ward.

“All are welcome – past and present players, supporters and followers – to help us celebrate an outstanding career.”