A DEFIANT great-gran suspended from the cricket club she has supported for more than 60 years has left officials stumped after refusing to turn up for a showdown over her future tonight.
Pensioner Margaret Burn was stunned after being told in a letter by Marsden Cricket Club to stay away while allegations of ‘suspected threatening behaviour towards junior members’ were investigated.
The 81-year-old was invited to a meeting with committee members, but she has decided not to play ball as she is concentrating her efforts on gathering witness statements to back up her case.
Mrs Burn, from Westoe, strenuously denies the allegations made against her and insists she was only asking children to get off the playing field for their own safety.
And she has been left distraught by the club’s stance – including, she claims, phoning the police when she refused to leave the ground after her suspension.
Mrs Burn said: “I won’t be attending the meeting. I’ve sent a letter to the club to let them know.
“Right now I’m concentrating on getting witness statements together to back up my side of what has gone on.
“I didn’t swear at the kids – all I did was tell them to get off the pitch.
“When I’ve got what I need, then I’ll take it from there.”
During her years of staunch support, Mrs Burn has helped raise hundreds of pounds for the club by serving refreshments during matches, while her husband John is a former player and committee member.
The club, based at Jack Clark Park, in Horsley Hill Road, South Shields, says the suspension was put in place until the outcome of their investigation.
VIDEO: Cricket club bans gran, 81, from ground
Mrs Burn added: “Whenever there is a match playing, I have always chased the kids off the cricket pitch.
“But this time I told them, they were just goading me and ignoring what I was saying.
“I kept telling them they shouldn’t be playing on the pitch when there was a game on, but they just shouted back they weren’t doing any harm.
“But what if the ball hit them? Then they would have known about it.”
Mrs Burn says her suspension is particularly distressful for her 83-year-old husband, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and is a resident at Clasper Court sheltered housing complex, as she is now unable to take him to watch the team in action.
She added: “After all the years John has spent at the club, I just think it’s disgusting what has happened.”
Marsden, who have former South Shields MP David Miliband as club president, play in the Readers Durham Cricket League.
A spokesman for Marsden Cricket Club said: “We value very much the support and commitment shown to the club by Margaret over the years.
“However, we have received complaints regarding her conduct towards young people and, as a club, we have a duty of care to both our members and to Margaret to investigate those complaints.
“The decision to suspend Margaret pending the outcome of the investigation has been a difficult one, and one the committee has not taken lightly, but we have to follow protocol.
“We are unable to comment further due to the ongoing investigation.”