A fitting tribute to cricket-lover & Frank Water friend, Simon Gordon-Walker.
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Simon Gordon-Walker began supporting Frank Water in 2015, both individually as an ambassador, and through Artesia, the company he founded in 2008. Simon died suddenly in 2018 but he continues to support Frank Water through his family, his work and one of his great loves – cricket. Here, Will Bathurst, Treasurer at Poulton Cricket Club explains why the club was keen to keep Simon’s memory alive by supporting Frank Water.
Poulton Cricket Club traces its history back to 1891. In 1976, the modern club moved to its current headquarters at Englands playing field in the village of Poulton in 1976, since 2011 there has been investment of over £1m in the playing field and new pavilion, with a new nets project worth over £30k installed during the 2021 season. The club is a registered charity provides cricket and coaching to any interested players from the age of five onwards and counts well over 100 boys and girls as members. The senior side of the club has three Saturday league sides now, having started a third XI in 2021 at a second local ground and we also have a Ladies XI.
Much of the strong position that the club finds itself in today, is due to the hard work of one of our members, parents and administrators Simon Gordon-Walker who died suddenly in November 2018 and whose contribution to the club over 20 years is impossible to summarise. He first got involved in the club in the 1990s eventually running the club’s youth section, leading fundraising events and doing whatever he could to make the club function and improve. As his two boys Jamie & Danny grew up, he set up the county u17 League, this evolved into the Gloucestershire youth cricket league offering longer competitive age group formats from under 11s up.
Away from Cricket, Simon worked in the world of Water and would spend many hours at Poulton, cider in hand explaining to us, usually in a rain-break in play that while we lived with the luxury of taps in our own homes with cheap, unlimited, clean, safe water, the wider world was not the same and was getting worse with climate change. He would always mention how water would become an internationally traded commodity. He founded Artesia Water Consulting in 2008 and the company still donate to Frank Water which was a charity close to his heart. To remember our friend, the club has an annual club cricket day in his memory run by Jamie and several of the club officials had no idea that Jamie was also fundraising for Frank Water until we were tagged in an Instagram post.
For the partnership, many things fell into place for the 2022 season, the club was moving to a new kit supplier and needed a sponsor for shirts. However the old model of promoting a company as shirt sponsor, with that sponsor paying for the club’s kit are over as players tend to purchase the kit they want from a centralised supplier direct. We had vacant space on our new shirts and the committee felt that instead of carrying the logo of a business, we should partner up with another charity instead, promoting their cause for mutual benefit. Given the connection with Frank Water via Simon, the first choice was obvious.
For the 2022 season we will start as a club, carrying the Frank Water logo on all our club shirts. We hope to supercharge the club memorial day for Simon and have a cricket fundraising match for Frank Water playing for the Simon Gordon-Walker Cup. We will promote the work of the charity to our membership and beyond as this is a rather more appropriate memorial to Simon and what he worked towards! In many ways, this partnership enables Simon’s legacy at the club to live on in a really positive way. Gallons of water are drunk by Poulton players in the occassional heatwaves of an English cricket summer and when we are looking critically at ourselves, we haven’t been the most sustainable users and need to work on this. Working with Frank Water will help improve this, hopefully raise awareness in our members. In year 1, we’ll start that process by getting the water cooler in, selling re-usable Frank Water bottles and hopefully, if appropriate, send some kit out to Frank Water’s projects in India and Nepal.