Derek Twigg MP, with Ken and Karen Tonge

The plight of sports clubs in the country came under the microscope at an event attended by some cricket legends.

Halton Borough’s MP Derek Twigg joined the likes of former England cricket players Mike Gatting and Angus Fraser, as well as Karen Tonge MBE, chairman of Halton Table Tennis Club, at the event held by the Sport and Recreation Alliance at the House of Commons.

Mr Twigg spoke with representatives about how grassroots clubs are faring in the current economic climate, after new data released by the organisation showed a quarter of all sports clubs are currently operating at a loss, with half just managing to break even. It also revealed that the clubs making a surplus have seen it almost halve over the last two years. Mr Twigg used the event to re-commit himself to helping sport and recreation by signing up to a pledge to support clubs in Halton.

Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “The fact that Derek Twigg MP attended our event and signed up to the pledge for sport tells us that he understands the needs of community clubs in Halton. “Clubs are a vital part of the fabric of our society but many are finding it harder and harder just to survive.”

Mr Twigg said: “It was a pleasure to attend the Sport and Recreation Alliance Reception and support local community clubs. “I was joined by Karen Tonge MBE, chairman of Halton Table Tennis Club, and her husband Kenneth, who have done so much to raise the profile of the sport locally and ensure a vibrant sporting environment for people of all ages.

“In signing the sports club pledge, I will continue to engage with Halton Council and the local sports partnerships to ensure that clubs in the constituency receive practical support to help safeguard valuable local facilities.” The event was also supported by Graham Evans MP Weaver Vale, which also covers part of Halton who also signed the pledge for sport.

Derek Twigg MP pledging his support

Karen Tonge MBE

Chairman Halton Table Tennis