An update from CEO, Mark Curtin
We’ve just witnessed two of the most incredible Ashes series you could wish to see. The drawn women’s series, which saw record crowds gather no matter where in the country they played, was spectacular and what a finale we’ve just had for the drawn men’s Ashes series with a special final day at the Oval. Stuart Broad’s fairy-tale like finish to his career was amazing. I hope with some time on his hands, we can persuade Broady to come and spend some time with us at the Tavs soon!
It was at the same venue just two and a half weeks ago that we enjoyed a memorable event of our own. Thank you to our partners the Berkeley Foundation for their support in delivering our annual Super 1s Awards at the fantastic new facility now available at the home of Surrey CCC.
We were joined by comic Adam Hills and England all-rounder and player of the Men’s Ashes series Chris Woakes (who was fresh off a match winning performance in the third men’s Test at Headingley to keep the Ashes alive when he joined us) for the evening, and I know they were both blown away by the Super 1s impact showcased on the night. Congratulations to Sophie and Connor, and their families, on their tremendous achievements which saw them win their Inspire awards. They’re both brilliant role models for so many young people living with a disability in Hampshire and Somerset respectively.
The Awards Evening fell in the middle of our latest Development Officer’s (DO’s) Conference at the Oval, and it was great to be able to catch up with those who are at the heart of our Wicketz, Super 1s and Table Cricket delivery across the country while also updating them on the other latest news from the charity. We can’t thank you enough for all the effort you put in to ensuring that all participants have a fun, safe and inclusive space to play cricket every week while enjoying all the personal development benefits that come with that. I was so inspired and in awe listening to the DOs share best practice and examples of the impact of their work across the UK.
After such an uplifting occasion at the Oval, I was lucky enough to be able to speak about the impact of Super 1s on a bigger platform than I ever have the following week, as myself and Cheshire Super 1s Coach Chris Edwards (who Captain’s England’s Learning Disability Team and won the Ashes down under last summer), travelled to Old Trafford to be interviewed about the importance and impact of Super 1s on BBC Test Match Special and Sky Sports Cricket during their coverage of the fourth Ashes Test. If you haven’t been able to listen or watch the features already, you can still do so by clicking on the two links below:
A few other important bits of cricket programme activity I’d like to update you on… last week (24-28 July) saw the return of our Super 1s residential at the Avon Tyrrell Activity Centre in the new forest. The residential offers young people with a disability the opportunity to take part in a number of outdoor activities, spend multiple nights away from home and engage with other young people living with a disability from different parts of the country. All things they may not otherwise have had the chance to do. I had the privilege of attending for one of the days and came away with a huge smile on my face after seeing what an incredible experience the young people were having.
Throughout August, we’ll be delivering three Wicketz Festivals, two boys festivals (boys U15s at Worcester University and boys aged 16+ at Malvern College) and a girl’s festival at Repton School – all three of these will consist of a combination of fun cricket activity and competition, mixed in with some vital life skills workshops that affect Wicketz participants in the communities they reside in every week. If you’d like to see any of this activity first hand (something I would strongly encourage), please get in touch with our programmes team.
There are numerous other ways you can support the charity in the coming month with the Taverners XI playing the winners of the D40 (national competition for cricketers who live with a hearing impairment, physical and/or learning disability) at Tring Park on 13 August, and our fixture against the Duke of Norfolk’s XI returns to the stunning Arundel Castle on 18 August. There is also a combined Super 1s and Wicketz Festival taking place at Arundel in the two days leading up to this game which will see participants from our Wicketz and Super 1s programme come together through the sport. This, the latest example of the value in working collaboratively and sharing expertise with our partners in the game.
You will have also seen that tickets are on sale for our afternoon at Lord’s with David Gower and friends on 25 September. If you can attend any of these, or any other events happening across the country between now and the end of the summer please do join us if you can. These are great opportunities for our members and friends to get together, socialise, enjoy each other’s company, and support the charity all at the same time.
On a more sombre note, we were all very sorry to hear of the passing of Trevor Francis this past week. He was a special guest interviewed by Taverners’ very good friend Gary Newbon at our most recent West Midlands Christmas Lunch, in what would have been one of his last public appearances and supported the charity on a number of other occasions in the past as well. He was a supremely talented sportsman but also a great role model for so many in his sport, and creating those positive role models is something that our programmes, and those they exist to support, are benefiting from so much now. Our thoughts and condolences go to all of Trevor’s family and friends. Trevor’s impact transcends the charity and I was contacted last week by Taverner John Ayling who knew Trevor well for many years and was very sad to hear the news.
And finally, back to the Ashes – I hope many of you have been following the truly amazing feat that proud Taverners and Slogging It podcasters Johnno Gordon, Simon Roberts and Eugene Berger have undertaken over the past seven weeks on our social channels. They have walked an incredible 670 miles starting at our offices in London on 12 June to each of the five men’s Ashes Test venues. This amazing effort has seen the guys literally give blood, sweat and tears whilst raising valuable funds for the charity. They have been joined along the way by Taverners such as Toby Tarrant and many others raising an incredible £7,500 so far… I know our heroic trio would be so grateful if our members and supporters could give with one last fundraising push and help them achieve their target of £10,000 by donating to their JustGiving page which can be found here. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Thanks for all of your support of the Taverners this summer and I look forward to seeing you at a meeting, an event or some programme activity near you soon.