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Cricketer's remains puts back Uni plans

Plans to build a new music centre at a university faced a set-back today due to the unknown whereabouts of a famous Victorian cricketer's remains.

Fuller Pilch was buried in the graveyard at St Gregory's Church in Canterbury, Kent, when he died aged 66 in 1870.

But the obelisk marking the spot has been moved and the exact location of his grave is not clear.

Canterbury Christ Church University wants to build a new £8 million music centre at the site, but has been told it will have to relocate all 200 graves and identify exactly where Pilch lies before building work can begin.

The talented sportsman, who played for Kent from 1835 to 1854, became famous for his unusual batting technique, which became known around the country as the Pilch Poke.

During his career he played for Norfolk, Leicester and Kent and also represented England.

But university spokeswoman Claire Draper said the the project, which is only in its initial stages, must get planning permission from Canterbury City Council before they even begin to start looking for Pilch's grave.

She said: "Further confirmation of the location of graves will not take place until after planning application is granted.

"We won't know whether we have the go-ahead until the end of July so plans to find Mr Pilch's last resting place are on hold until then.

"The university is committed to reinterring the remains of the deceased in a dedicated memorial garden. We appreciate it is a sensitive issue and want to approach it with appropriate care."

She said that as the last person to be buried in the churchyard was in 1939, a long enough time period has elapsed for the university not to need to get permission from the families of the deceased to relocate their remains.

The project designs incorporate a 350-seat concert auditorium, a suite of fully-equipped rehearsal and practice rooms, and flexible space that can be used to provide additional areas for teaching and workshops.