AN application for more than £300,000 of National Lottery cash to celebrate the 125 years of the Lancashire League has been rejected.

The cricket body had asked for the cash to support a project to find and preserve historic items and use them in schools and to help people living with dementia, depression and loneliness.

The 17-team league has already received £28,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run two trial projects -one to teach social history through the heritage of Accrington Cricket Club and the other to develop health related activities for the elderly in the Rossendale Valley through sporting memories.

Now its Stage Two bid for £338,100 has been rejected and the league has appealed the decision.

This cash would have been used for activities celebrating the league's contribution to local life including rolling out the two pilot projects across its entire area stretching from Todmorden through Colne and Darwen to Clitheroe and down the Rossendale Valley to Ramsbottom,

The project would have financed a major exhibition and developed a new website, including an online museum of artefacts in clubs’ collections.

It aimed to capture oral memories of local cricket and research the women’s game which thrived in the 1930s, the pre-League histories of the clubs and the relationship between the Lancashire League and local football.

The material would be used in schools to engage under-achieving children, and to benefit people living with dementia, depression and loneliness.

A Lancashire League spokesman said: “We are pursuing the matter further and asking HLF to review the decision.

“The League has expressed significant concerns about how the project was handled by officials.”

It has already raised £30,000 towards the project.

Nathan Lee, head of HLF North West, said: "We understand that this is disappointing news. However, there were concerns over the applicants’ ability to deliver a project of this scale.

"We have a high level of competition for grants and we are unable to support all the applications we receive.

"The applicant has been in contact regarding the outcome of their application and this is being reviewed."