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Disabled Canonbury man told: Pay £450 to miss year of cricket at Lord’s

PUBLISHED: 10:09 29 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:09 29 April 2016

Cricket fan: David Pearce (Picture: Ken Mears)

Cricket fan: David Pearce (Picture: Ken Mears)

Archant

A wheelchair-bound Canonbury pensioner must fork out £450 for a season of matches he cannot attend – or face exclusion from the elite cricket club that runs Lord’s.

Marylebone Cricket Club hosting Sussex at Lord's (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)Marylebone Cricket Club hosting Sussex at Lord's (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

David Pearce, who became a member of Marylebone CC in 1996 after a nine-year wait, had an accident in August that left him unable to walk.

He expects to be well for the 2017 season but says he cannot attend any of the club’s matches this year.

But when he asked club bosses if they could suspend his membership for a season, he was told: “Keep paying or you’re out.”

The waiting list to rejoin the exclusive club, founded in 1787, has now risen to an eye-watering 28 years.

Useless: David's Marylebone CC membershipUseless: David's Marylebone CC membership

Mr Pearce, 76, said: “I slipped out of bed and landed on the floor.

“My carer called an ambulance and took me to Homerton Hospital.

“Now I’m lifted from the bed to my chair.”

Since the incident Mr Pearce, who lives in Rotherfield Street, has attended Lord’s just once, when his brother was able to take him in a wheelchair.

Marylebone Cricket Club members look on during an England test match (Picture: Stephen Pond/Empics)Marylebone Cricket Club members look on during an England test match (Picture: Stephen Pond/Empics)

But without transport he is unable to physically get to the matches.

He said: “It seems silly to lose my membership because I can’t go to the test match this season.

“If they could refund me the money for the test matches this summer, I can go again next season.”

Membership of the organisation, granted a Royal Charter in 2012, is capped at 18,000.

The club’s Neil Priscott told the Gazette: “A rule of the club is you have to have continuous membership. Our policy is very consistent.We have got a 28-year waiting list.

“We have to be fair to certain members and those waiting in line. MCC can’t be in a position to make exceptions. A membership is not negotiable.

“We have hundreds of members who visit Lords and cannot walk. He won’t be the only member watching from a wheelchair.”

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