Cricket charities celebrate community support
UK charities Lord’s Taverners, Chance to Shine and PCA Benevolent Fund have been paying tribute to the cricket community this week as support for the joint Cricket United fundraising appeal has seen over £55,000 raised for the charities so far this summer.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Cricket United Day, the 2014 event – which took place at the Kia Oval on Saturday 16 August – saw players, fans, commentators, sponsors and administrators come together once again to help improve lives through cricket.
Fundraising at the ground, including sales of t-shirts, raffle tickets, commemorative T.M.Lewin ties (as worn by Sky Sports, BBC and Channel Five commentators) and bats signed by the England team, took the total raised on Cricket United Day 2014 to over £30,000 – a 50% increase on 2013’s event.
The Kia Oval was turned a ‘sea of blue’ to raise awareness of the charities’ work in the cricket community courtesy of 10,000 blue Cricket United t-shirts supplied by Waitrose. These were showcased by young beneficiaries of the charities’ work who formed a guard of honour for the players at the start of the day, before fans were encouraged to make a donation in exchange for a t-shirt.
Having already donated a hospitality box for the charities to auction, the England team sponsor also pledged £100 for each boundary scored on Cricket United Day, with Gary Ballance leading from the front to raise £1,300 with his batting.
Before the fifth Investec Test between England and India got underway England’s players penned portraits of their teammates and cricket broadcasters to be auctioned on eBay for Cricket United. Having seen the likes of Jos Butler, Joe Root and Chris Woakes poke fun at them, the broadcast teams got their own back with commentators including Nasser Hussain, Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan retaliating in style.
The unique signed portraits have raised £7,000 for Cricket United so far, with Root’s England team portrayal the highest earner at over £2,500. Members of the England women’s squad are looking forward to adding to the men’s total when their portraits are auctioned later this summer.
Cricket United has already raised over £55,000 in 2014 thanks to support from Surrey CCC and ECB sponsors including Yorkshire Tea, Lycamobile, Hardys Wine and Liberty Mutual Insurance, who were also joined in changing their advertising boards to ‘Cricket United blue’ on the day by Investec, Waitrose, Pedigree, Stowford Press, Jaguar, Ethiad, KIA, bet365.com, Pru Health with Vitality, Wellman, Anglia Ruskin and OCS.
England’s players sported special match shirts on Cricket United Day featuring appeal branding on the collars and Waitrose logo turned ‘Cricket United blue.’ The players’ signed, match-worn shirts are currently being auctioned on eBay at www.bit.ly/englandshirts and close on Tuesday 26 August, after the first Royal London ODI at Bristol.
Sky Sports, celebrating its 200th Test Match broadcast on Cricket United Day, produced commemorative caps for the England cricket team to mark the occasion. Having previewed the appeal earlier in the summer during the second Investec Test between England and Sri Lanka at Headingley, Sky Sports and ECB donated the caps to raise further funds for the Cricket United charities.
Funds raised from the day will help the Lord’s Taverners give hundreds of disabled pupils across the UK the chance to represent their schools at competitive cricket. It will empower Chance to Shine to give one thousand schoolchildren the opportunity to play and learn through cricket and will enable the PCA Benevolent Fund to continue to run a confidential helpline, providing advice and treatment to players suffering from mental health issues.
To find out more about Cricket United visit www.cricketunited.co.uk