Fernhurst Recreation Ground Trust has hosted the grand opening dinner of Pavilion2022.

Among the guests were individuals who had donated more than £10,000 and the major institutional donors. A community event for all donors and members is planned for one of the bank holidays in May.

Trustee John Mitchell thanked Sport England, South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for their grants.

The grand total of £900,000 was reached after inclusion of £200,000 from private donors, many of them from the village.

John said: “On behalf of the trust, the clubs and the village as a whole, we want to thank you. We have a modern, multi-purpose pavilion which is fit for the next 50 years. It means we can run two events at once and supply all the modern needs – including enough changing rooms.”

There is still work to do for the completion of Pavilion2022, but it will be ready for hire in December and it is bigger than the old building it has replaced.

In the past ten years, the expansion of Fernhurst’s cricket, football and tennis clubs has intensified calls for a new pavilion.

SDNPA contributed £200,000 towards the Pavilion2022 project.

SDNPA chairman Vanessa Rowlands said: “We’re very proud to be the first national park in the UK to collect Community Infrastructure Levy money.

“We believe communities that have development in their area should get something back from that.

“This pavilion is absolutely wonderful – I can’t wait to see it in the spring.”

Carl Tupper, territory manager for the Sussex Cricket Foundation, spoke about the money pledged by the ECB. It wants a significant increase in women’s and girls’ participation and has earmarked Fernhurst as a ‘hub club’.

Carl said: “This is the first project of its kind in Sussex. It’s important to remember the location here – it’s not an urban area, which the ECB particularly looks for.

“However, we were able to share with them the good news stories of the success of the Fernhurst Flames, the general growth in recent years and the passion and drive from the club as a whole.

“The ECB was so impressed with Fernhurst Cricket Club that, out of the blue, on top of the £150,000 for the pavilion, they granted an extra £50,000 to the cricket club to see that plan achieved, which is brilliant.

“I’ve seen a number of pavilion projects; some fail to get moving, some clubs get all-consumed with just ‘the project’, so thank you to everyone who has put in the effort to get this where it is now. The fundraising is unbelievable, the club is in good hands and the Sussex Cricket Foundation is proud to play a small part in that.”