CRICKETING legend Dickie Bird helped to inspire a new generation of would-be Ashes heroes yesterday when he opened a sports facility.

The former umpire was at Caedmon School, in Whitby, North Yorkshire, to unveil cricket nets and a pitch built using a £440,000 National Lottery grant.

The school also has a new flood-lit pitch for football, hockey and tennis that will be used by 560 pupils from Caedmon and 2,700 pupils from surrounding schools.

Dickie, who umpired 68 test matches and 92 one-day internationals, visited the school as head of the Dickie Bird Foundation.

He set up the trust in March last year to help more youngsters take part in their favourite sports.

He said: "I am delighted to be able to endorse this project. I established the Dickie Bird Foundation with the aim of helping disadvantaged young people nationwide to participate in sport.

"I believe that, through our efforts and the grants we make, more young people will be able to access sport, just as this project demonstrates."

Vanessa White, from the Big Lottery Fund, said: "Caedmon School is leading the way and this Big Lottery-funded project could even help to produce sporting heroes of the future."