Downtown Abbey’s loveable butler organises Hampstead celebrity cricket match

20:20 09 September 2011

Jim Carter arrives at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

Jim Carter arrives at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

It is not often that you get bowled out by Professor Trelawney - and if Emma Thompson’s previous bowling skills are anything to go by that’s not likely to change next weekend.

But despite a shaky track record, Ms Thompson, along with husband Greg Wise and fellow Harry Potter star Imelda Staunton, will be showcasing her cricket skills as she bowls the first ball in the annual Hampstead Cricket Club celebrity match.

Now in its third year, the event is organised by Downton Abbey star and Hampstead Cricket Club Chairman Jim Carter.

The event welcomes celebrities, cricketers and locals to a day of fun at the West Hampstead club.

Mr Carter said: “Emma Thompson always bowls the first ball – the first year she did it one of the colts hit her for six showing no respect at all. And last year she bowled to an English cricketer and it took her six balls to get anywhere near where she should be bowling.”

In the style of a village fete Mr Carter makes the mammoth claim that the event’s cake stand – run by his wife Imelda Staunton and West Hampstead local Ms Thompson – is the best in the business.

Along with the sponges, another highlight to the less-than avid cricket fan is a celebrity ‘pens’ where well known faces mill around and sign autographs for attendees.

In the past the famous faces have included some rather exciting Harry Potter superstars, while this year Downton Abby stars have hinted they may make an appearance.

And many will don their whites to take on the club’s young cricketers in a highly anticipated match.

This year the event is being held in partnership with the Anthony Nolan Trust to encourage the cricketing community to join the Anthony Nolan register.

The charity uses its register to match people willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to patients with blood cancer who need a lifesaving transplant.

Mr Carter said: “I am a great believer in young people actually doing something to give something back and I really hope people are not just going to pick up a leaflet, but will actually make a commitment to donate.

“The process, if you are a match, is not as dramatic as people think – ‘urgh they are going to suck your bones out!’. It might hurt a bit but being whacked with a cricket ball hurts too, and with this you have the chance to save a person’s life.”

- The match takes place at Hampstead Cricket Club, 25 Lymington Road, West Hampstead on September 18 from 1-5pm, and entry costs £2. For more information or to RSVP, please email


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