Cricket United Day is back and it's bigger and bluer!
'Save the date': Saturday, 16 August 2014
Cricket charities, the Lord's Taverners, Chance to Shine and PCA Benevolent Fund are teaming up again for 'Cricket United Day', the UK's biggest cricket awareness and fundraising day.
As the Kia Oval raises the curtain on England's Summer internationals today (20 May), the charities are announcing this year's date for Cricket United Day at the same venue: Saturday, 16 August, day two of England v India Fifth Investec Test.
Funds raised last year have helped to improve a significant number of lives through cricket. Cricket fans' generous donations before and on Cricket United Day have enabled the Lord's Taverners to give hundreds of disabled children across UK the chance to represent their schools at competitive cricket.
One thousand children in state schools are now playing cricket and learning key life skills such as teamwork, leadership and respect through Chance to Shine.
And the PCA Benevolent Fund are able to run a confidential helpline, providing advice and treatment to players suffering from mental health issues, thanks in part to the money gifted last year.
Following the successful joint appeal last year, raising £50,000 overall and £20,000 during the final Investec Ashes Test - the equivalent of £1 per supporter - the charities did not hesitate in agreeing to repeat Cricket United Day in 2014. England and Wales Cricket Board and Surrey County Cricket Club have both given their full backing once again and a string of sponsors are also coming on board.
The result: a bigger and bluer event!
Eleven year old Harry Walters from South London was just one of the beneficiaries of last year's appeal. He has autism spectrum disorder and had always had negative experiences of sport. Whenever he tried to join in his class mates would mock him and there would be arguments. That all changed when Harry found cricket. He found his niche and is interacting with his peers on a level playing field rather than as a special educational needs pupil. He loves cricket so much he even sleeps with his bat!
His mum Sam said today, "We're so grateful to the cricket community and fans for giving our son a ray of sunshine during a testing time in his life. Cricket now means everything to Harry. Cricket United is a brilliant idea. It's amazing how one day can make a massive difference to the lives of so many."
The charities are calling on cricket fans to unite again, to donate and to wear blue on 16 August to help improve more lives through cricket.
For more details on Cricket United Day and on how to get involved visit cricketunited.co.uk.