Chris Theedom (left) and Bill Matten in front of the plaque bearing his name

SANDFORD have honoured their last surviving founder member by re-naming their pavilion after him.

Bill Matten was one of the village football club members who meet in April 1949 to form a cricket club as a way of staying together during the summer.

Sandford Cricket Club played its first game that summer and 68 years later is still going strong. Under the captaincy of Richard Foan, the club was promoted into the Devon League Premier Division at the end of last season.

Bill and Sheila Matten on the pavilion balcony during the naming ceremony for the Bill Matten PavilionBill Matten stuck his hand up at the formation meeting and offered to act as fixture secretary for the new club. Now 90 years old, it is a job he still does today.

Club members wanted to mark Matten’s service to the club in a fitting way and decided to name the pavilion after him.

Bill and wife Sheila, along with family, friends and clubmates, were at Creedy Park on Sunday morning to see the naming plaque unveiled on the Bill Matten Pavilion.

Chris Theedom, who has been a Sandford player and official for 51 years, acted as master of ceremonies for the unveiling.

Theedom said Bill’s long service to the club deserved the special recognition members had given.

“It is a great tribute to a man who has given so much to cricket at Sandford and in Devon,” said Theedom.

“Bill is a truly remarkable person and someone I have the greatest respect for.

“He is regarded by most people in Devon as ‘Mr Sandford CC’ and that is a great honour on its own.

“Bill has presided over many, many changes during his 68 years but has always moved with the times and is still actively involved with club and committee on a daily basis

“Over the years he has done practically every job there is at the club. These changes can’t have been easy for him, but Bill has always encouraged progress and younger people’s ideas.

“By naming the pavilion after him there is a permanent reminder to all members - now and in the  future - of the importance of  Bill Matten to Sandford CC and how much he has done for the club.”