Wickham Bishops: We are so proud of him – village celebrates as England captain Alastair Cook guides his side to Ashes triumph
As England cricket captain Alastair Cook was writing his name into Ashes history this week, people in the star’s home village of Wickham Bishops were also raising a glass, in tribute to a local boy done good.
The 28-year-old, who grew up in the picturesque village near Maldon, led his team to an unassailable 3-0 lead against Australia on Monday – securing a third straight Ashes series victory for England.
As huge roars erupted inside Chester-Le-Street, Durham, excitement was also building in the village, as shopkeepers, homeowners and pub bosses spoke of their pride at the former choirboy’s achievements.
Joe Greene, owner of The Chequers pub, said: “Over the whole series we have had so many people come here and they have been glued to the TV.”
Ellie Carter, who works at the pub, added: “It’s great to have someone local who has done so well – it’s inspirational.”
Father Stuart Batten, priest in charge at St Bartholomew’s Church in the village, said: “We’re delighted, we obviously follow all his achievements with a great deal of pride.
“He was a choirboy at the church and very involved in village life, so everybody is excited and proud.
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“The family are well known in the village and people keep an eye on what he has done.”
Cook, who was taught in neighbouring Great Totham during his primary school years, started his cricketing career with his local village side before he got spotted by Maldon Cricket Club.
He played his first game for Maldon 3rd XI when he was just 11-years-old, scoring an impressive 64 runs.
He continued to play for Maldon, on and off, for seven years before being handed his first-class debut by Essex in 2003.
Alan Coker, chairman of Maldon Cricket Club, said: “We are extremely proud of him, very pleased, and we wish him every success for the future.
“We couldn’t believe it was happening but everyone is extremely proud and the result and the way it went was extraordinary.
“He is an extraordinarily nice person.”
Despite his exploits in Australia during the last Ashes series and his successes this year, Cook has remained a down-to-earth character – a fact not lost on people in Wickham Bishops.
Cyndy Burns, a sales assistant at Wickham Bishops Health Foods, said: “I think it’s wonderful that he comes from here.
“I have never met him, I’ve only seen his interviews, but there is no bad side to him. We are very proud.”
The fourth Ashes test looked to be heading into a final fifth day before an inspired spell of bowling from Stuart Broad saw Australia all out for 224 runs – 75 runs short of their victory target.