The Board of Sussex County Cricket Club have announced that they will dedicate the Pavilion at The PROBIZ County Ground in honour of the late Spen Cama.
Sussex’s ex-President Cama left the Club a £12 million legacy in 2001 which has been used to fund the County’s ground development. Starting with the Indoor School in 2003, and then continuing with the £8m project covering the refurbished Pavilion, two new stands, upgraded floodlights, a new Groundsmans facility and The Boundary Rooms, the Cama legacy has enabled Sussex CCC to modernise their ground without becoming encumbered by onerous debts.
The official naming ceremony of the Spen Cama Pavilion will take place during the final LV=County Championship Division One match at Hove this season when Durham are the visitors. On Friday 2nd September, which is Day Three of the match, play will begin early with a revised start time of 10.45am to allow for an extended lunch break at 12.45pm in which Jim Parks, one of Spen’s favourite Sussex players, will officially unveil The Spen Cama Pavilion. All other days of the match will begin at 11.00am as usual.
Sussex players past and present will be at the ceremony which will begin at around 1.10pm on the day, allowing for the resumption of play at 1.40pm as normal.
Chairman of Sussex Jim May said, “We will be forever grateful to Spen Cama for his legacy to Sussex County Cricket Club and we see that naming our Pavilion, here at the oldest professional sports club in the country, is testament to his legacy and a fitting way to honour his commitment to cricket in the County.
“We will look forward to welcoming around 50 of our past Sussex players to Hove on that day to witness the official naming of the Pavilion and we hope that it will be yet another memorable occasion in the history of the County Ground”.
About Spen Cama
Spenta Cama was born in London in November 1908. His father, an Indian, had come to England a few years previously to establish a business, importing carpets from India. Unfortunately, he become ill with a serious chest complaint and had many stays in hospital, where he met and married a Welsh nurse. Spen was born shortly after his father had died.
Spen’s mother brought him to Brighton as a young child and he was educated initially at Mrs Bentley’s private school at Athol House, Hampstead Road, and subsequently at the Brighton Grammar School. Just prior to the Second World War he trained as a barrister, and, in 1945, he took an interest in purchasing and leasing property and formed his own company, Lyndale.
In 1927, along with a few friends, he had founded Preston Nomads CC (PNCC), in connection with the Church of the Good Shepherd, in the area of Brighton known as Preston. The remainder of the title reflected the fact that they had no ground on which to play. In 1937, the Club moved to its present ground in the village of Fulking, five miles north of Brighton, where its 1st XI plays in the Sussex Cricket Premier League.
In addition to his legacy to Sussex CCC, Spen also left £8 million to PNCC. The Club passed these funds to a newly established trust, the Spen Cama Cricket Foundation. As well as supporting PNCC, during the past five years the Foundation has made grants totaling £450,000 available to some 50 recreational clubs/organizations in Sussex, other than PNCC.
Spen Cama was a generous man, with an absolute passion for cricket. His financial legacies to Sussex CCC and Preston Nomads CC are matched equally by the legacy he left to the Club in respect of the way the game should be played – that is to play to win, but always in a fair and sportsmanlike way, with genuine respect for the opposition, officials and teammates.