North Devon CC fundraiser boosted by Major General

Nick and Viv Ansell

Nick Ansell and wife Viv - Credit: Mark Ansell/North Devon CC

North Devon CC’s charity fundraiser is marching towards its £2,000 target with a little help from a retired major-general.

The club is aiming to raise the money for mental health charity Devon Mind through a series of challenging physical activities.

The Century Challenge has replaced Covid-banned pre-season training for cricketers with something that will keep them fit and raise money for a good cause at the same time.

Fund-raisers have to commit to doing a hundred of something physical - it could be bench presses, sit-ups or jogs in the park - and raise money through sponsorship for the Century Challenge fund.

North Devon CC chairman Mark Ansell, who came up with the fund-raising initiative, said within a week of going live the appeal stands at nearly £800.

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Now Mark’s father Nick – Major-General Ansell during his military career in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards and elsewhere – has signed up to take part in 100 walks in the area around his home near Bideford.

Said Mark: “My father has said he will complete 100 walks in a year at the rate of two a week.

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“He likes walking as he believes it will help him realise one of his aims, which is to live until he is a hundred.

“My dad is 84 this year, so he has some way to go, but he is pretty determined.”

Ansell senior followed his father and grandfather into the Dragoons after completing his university studies at Cambridge. He rose through the ranks to captain, major and lieutenant colonel before becoming a major-general and training college commanding officer.

The young Nick Ansell was a keen sportsman who boxed and played cricket for North Devon in the 1950s. Equestrianism was a family passion and he saddled-up as a jockey to ride as an amateur under National Hunt rules.

Ansell rode 12 winners between 1959-1964 and returned to the winners’ enclosure one last time in 1976 when Ancient Lawyer carried him to victory at Sandown Park.

He was made an OBE in 1980 and a companion of the Order of the Bath two years later. Retirement allowed time to serve as a JP, the clerk of the course at Haldon Racecourse and ceremonial office as a Deputy Lieutenant of Devon.

A further boost to the fund-raising effort is Matt Dart’s personal press-up challenge, designed to sweat off the over-indulgences of Christmas.

“I am up for 100 press-ups for 100 days as I seem to have two turkeys attached to me that I need to shift!”

Details of how to take part or donate can be found on the NDCC Facebook page, or the newly created page, which can be found by clicking on the site and searching for North Devon Cricket Club.

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