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Martin Crowe apartments launched

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Deb, Audrey and Emma Crowe at the official opening of the Marti​n Crowe apartments

Bert Sutcliffe village now complete

New Zealand cricket great Martin Crowe MBE has been honoured at Ryman's Birkenhead retirement village.

Martin's mum Audrey, sister Deb and daughter Emma were on hand on Friday to see the final block at the village named after the Aucklander and master batsman who died in 2016 at the age of 53.

The village centre was packed with residents and visitors as the Crowe family officially opened the new apartments which marked the completion of the village.

Deb Crowe said her brother would have been pleased with the recognition.

"I just want to thank Ryman Healthcare and the Sutcliffe family for inviting him into your fold and inviting us here today and for creating this wing and I can honestly say from my heart that he will be the best guardian angel over that wing. He will be right there.

"He will be very proud as we are, really proud, to be involved with this village, so thrilled to bits and thank you so much, we really appreciate it.''

Ryman Healthcare names all of its villages in honour of significant New Zealanders.

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The village was named after Bert Sutcliffe, former New Zealand captain, and each apartment building is named after a Kiwi cricketer.

The 60-apartment Crowe block is the final stage in the four-year construction project on the site formerly occupied by a motor lodge on Rangatira Rd, just by Verrans Corner.

The village is home to more than 300 residents and includes a bowling green, indoor swimming pool, gym, movie theatre, café, library and hair and beauty salons as well as a care centre with 120 care beds.

Gordon MacLeod thanked the Crowes for their support.

"We were absolutely delighted when the Crowe family agreed to allow us to honour him by naming our final building in the village after Martin.

"To boys like me – and to many generations of New Zealanders – he was a sporting legend. He was an extraordinary talent.

"It seems to me that he was just one of those people, blessed with extraordinary sporting genes and he made the most of them.

"Of course there was much more to Martin than what he did on the field.

"He was a family man, a great thinker, and he was tireless in his support for young players.''

Gordon MacLeod also thanked the Ryman construction team for their hard work over four years.

Work first started on this site back in 2014 and at the height of the construction programme there were more than 500 workers on site.

More than 996,000 hours of labour went in to the village, with the team using 486 tonnes of structural steel, 35,000 cubic metres of concrete and 720,000 bricks to build it.

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Gordon said a beautiful village design by Taylor Allison had made the most of the saloping site and views.

He thanked all of the staff at Ryman who helped in the construction of the village, including Matt Hutchinson, Matt Bell, Pele Vaaga, Glenn Scott, Scott Redmond, Devon Melrose, Gordon McKenna, Ricky Ciaboanu, Damien Meehan and Ben van Heerden and the members of team still onsite.

Village Manager Marika Laflamme also officially opened the bowling green with the help of resident bowlers.

Martin Crowe MBE (22 September 1962 – 3 March 2016) Crowe is considered one of New Zealand's greatest ever batsmen.

His long-standing New Zealand record of 17 test centuries was only surpassed in 2018, by Kane Williamson.

Crowe amassed 5444 test runs in his career at a world-class average of 45, with a top score of 299.

Crowe was just 19 when he made his debut for his country in an ODI against Australia at Eden Park in February 1982, and played his first test match later that month, also against Australia.

He quickly made his mark in the international arena and, in 1985, was named as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.

He was appointed captain of New Zealand in 1990 and garnered a reputation as a clever and innovative leader.

Crowe was at the height of his powers at the 1992 world cup, which New Zealand co-hosted with Australia. Little-fancied before the tournament, Crowe led his side to the semi-finals playing attacking and attractive cricket.

He scored an unbeaten century in the opening match of the tournament, spearheading the side to a 37-run victory over arch rivals Australia.

Crowe was the leading run-scorer at the 1992 world cup and was named player of the tournament.

Beset by injuries, he relinquished the captaincy in 1993, and retired from international cricket two years later.

At the time of his retirement, he held the records for the most test and one-day international runs scored by a New Zealander.

Post-career, Crowe remained heavily involved in the game as a commentator and analyst. He was also a dedicated cricketing mentor to some of New Zealand's best known modern stars.

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