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Buckingham Lodge residents bowled over by rising star Joe

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It’s the Ashes summer when cricket fever is always guaranteed to take hold across England.

However, residents and staff at Kingsley Healthcare-run Buckingham Lodge Nursing Home, near Watton, are already fully absorbed by the great national pastime – following the fortunes of popular young carer Joe Tillett.

For Joe, 18, is a rising star at Great Witchingham Cricket Club, captaining their Sunday team as well as playing in the 2nd X1, and sometimes the 1st X1 in the East Anglian Premier League.

Because of the home’s cricketing links, Kingsley Healthcare has committed to a five-year deal to be a major sponsor of Great Witchingham, one of East Anglia’s leading clubs.

The club near Lenwade will be keeping Buckingham Lodge residents fully involved in their activities and a cricket day has already been arranged for Thursday, July 27 when their star players, including South African overseas professional Yaseen Valli, will travel to the home for a demonstration followed by a cricket tea. It is also planned for residents to attend a number of home matches.

Home manager Marie Cherry, who doubles as the club’s 2nd X1 scorer, said: “At our cricket day, we will be getting residents involved with a catching competition!”

Joe is acclaimed by colleagues as a rising star in social care as well as cricket, having joined the team at Buckingham Lodge as a 17-year-old on work experience.

He now works there as a support worker up to two days a week while he completes his Level 3 BTEC in health Studies at City College Norwich.

He said: “I became drawn to the caring professions by my grandmother who had dementia. I provided emotional support to her before she passed away.

Working in a care home, you feel you are giving something back to people and helping to make their lives better.”

Great Witchingham chairman Martin Law thanked Kingsley for its sponsorship and said the club thrived through community involvement.

He said: “It costs so much to get the ground running every year. We have just refurbished and painted the changing rooms. We have probably the best batting wicket in Norfolk and that requires a lot of work too.”

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