VOLUNTEERS have transformed their local cricket clubs in a Ground Force-style initiative.

People living in Crook and Barnard Castle gave up their weekend to regenerate their respective grounds.

The initiative, dubbed CricketForce, was instigated by the English Cricket Board and NatWest.

In Crook, about 100 people turned out to repair and decorate the clubhouse to improve access for the disabled.

Those taking part managed to entice thousands of pounds worth of DIY equipment from local businesses and the time of skilled tradesmen.

The workers also managed to put in a new dance floor, new fire doors, a disabled toilet and carpets. Overall, £20,000 worth of work was carried out.

Children from local schools also turned up to do their bit, along with North Durham MP Hilary Armstrong.

Councillor Eddie Murphy, who has been involved in the project said: "The community of Crook is just unbelievable. It is great to see everyone pulling together, including the kids."

In Barnard Castle, about 70 volunteers took over the clubhouse and pitch to carry out renovation work.

A new stage was put in the clubhouse, the changing rooms were revamped and new seats and fences were put up around the pitch.

The facilities co-ordinator at the club, John Walker, said: "We have been joined by friends, family and the local community - but none of this could have been done without the free time given by the skilled tradesmen who have come along to give us a hand.

"This has meant an absolutely massive saving for the club and we are looking forward to starting the season with a clubhouse which is set to last us another 20 to 30 years.''