How Taiwanese pop sensation Jay Chou is helping to save an Eastbourne cricket club
Tourists flocking to Beachy Head are helping an Eastbourne cricket club – thanks to one of the world’s best-selling Asian pop stars.
Each year thousands of visitors from Asia travel to the Seven Sisters beauty spot, many inspired by a music video starring Taiwanese singer Jay Chou.
So in a unique fundraising bid, East Dean and Friston Cricket Club has cooked up a scheme to promote its sport and welcome tourists.
Known as the East Dean Tigers, the club has been playing cricket at the village recreation ground since 1848. But in 2018, a new housing development threatened its future.
The new houses were built very close to the ground, and surveys by sporting bodies recommended the pitch should be moved 30 yards south, at a cost to the club of more than £20,000.
Faced with a huge fundraising challenge for a club with very limited resources, they have come up with a creative solution.
Club members discovered one of the reasons for the huge numbers of Asian visitors who stream past the cricket ground every day is because of Jay Chou’s video for his song What’s Wrong – which has more than 13 million views on Youtube.
The music video shows Jay Chou walking along the cliffs and standing at the clifftop with the Belle Tout lighthouse in the background.
So East Dean Cricket Club has started the Ring the Tiger Bell challenge to attract the attention of these visitors, and ultimately of Jay Chou himself, in the hope he will become a patron of the club and support their cause.
Large signs, written in English and Mandarin, are erected before games. These tell the history of the club, promote the local pub and café and highlight the link with Jay Chou.
Passing visitors are invited to make a £50 donation to the club and ring the bell that is attached to the signs.
On hearing the bell, the cricketers stop playing and run for a photo with the visitors, who are asked to share it on social media, and tag Jay Chou.
Several visitors have already rung the Tiger bell, and this resourceful club hopes ultimately this unusual campaign will safeguard its future at the heart of the local community.