Record breakers' £40,000 legacy

Caring village cricketers, who set a new world record in honour of a popular team mate killed by asthma, are set to deliver a £40,000 boost for research into the crippling condition.

Caring village cricketers, who set a new world record in honour of a popular team mate killed by asthma, are set to deliver a £40,000 boost for research into the crippling condition.

Players from Red Row near Morpeth - helped by league rivals from all over Northumberland - battled their way into the record books last month by batting and bowling non-stop for 34 hours to beat the previous, Australian-held endurance record.

They were inspired to take on the challenge by team member David Griffiths, 20, who died last December after suffering a severe asthma attack while at work.

The cricket marathon was the centrepiece of activities in the village aimed at raising cash for Asthma UK in memory of the popular young factory worker.

It was hoped to bring in up to £25,000, but a marvellous community effort has resulted in the target being almost doubled. So far, £38,000 has been raised and the final tally is expected to top £40,000 - helped by the sale of official DVDs of the cricket match.

Yesterday, David's parents, John and Linda Griffiths of Acklington, near Morpeth, his sister Julie, 16, and others involved in the fundraising event joined the Duchess of Northumberland at her Alnwick Garden, where a cheque was presented to Katie Hammond from Asthma UK.

The Duchess and her husband made a personal donation to the charity campaign, sent a message of support for use in the official programme and provided chefs from the garden's Treehouse restaurant to do the catering over the two days of the cricket marathon.

The Bank Holiday weekend events saw money raised through personal sponsorship secured by the cricketers, entry fees and sponsorship from hundreds of people who took part in the inaugural Druridge Bay fun run and from a range of other activities in Red Row.

Sports stars including Test ace Steve Harmison, Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and North-East boxer Glenn McCrory all lent their support, and hundreds of supporters were on hand to cheer as the new world record was set on the Sunday evening.

Mr and Mrs Griffiths described the charity weekend as `marvellous and overwhelming' and said it made them proud to think that so much money had been raised for research into the condition which killed their son.

Alan Mackenzie, 50, of Cheviot Crescent, Hadston, a Red Row cricket club stalwart who had the original idea for the world record bid, said yesterday he was delighted with the cash raised for Asthma UK.

"We are really, really proud of what we achieved and would like to thank everyone who rallied round to support us. We are now helping a cricket team down in Kent who want to try to break our record in September, so if we want it back we might have to do all this again."

Event spokesman Bruce Jobson said: "To have raised £40,000 is fantastic and shows what a tremendous community spirit resulted from a personal tragedy."

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