A group of amateur cricketers including a Lambeth councillor had the opportunity to play on the hallowed turf of The Oval cricket ground last week – all in aid of charity.
By organising a special Crazy Cricket tournament, they raised more than £3,200 for two charities which support those with mental health issues and provide cricket training for young people from low income backgrounds. Councillor Alex Bigham, who represents Stockwell, gathered a team of players from Lambeth and his regular club team, Kingstonian CC based in New Malden to take part in a one-off tournament being hosted by Pro Play Sports at the Kia Oval. Small donations were received from friends, family and colleagues, and other players in the tournament contributed to a raffle with prizes including a bat signed by the England team.
The money will support Chance to Shine, a charity based at the Oval who work with schools and children to provide community cricket. It will also go to Mental Health Mates, a peer support group that was started in Clapham by the author and journalist Bryony Gordon. The group organises walks across the country and internationally as a safe space for those suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges.
The match is part of a tournament organised by Pro Play Events who have agreed to donate a third of ticket sales to charity. Cllr Bigham said: “Mental health issues affect one in four of us, so we will all know someone who has struggled with issues like depression and anxiety, me included. “Sport and exercise can be a great way to banish the black dog and build resilience among young people.”
The cause has been supported by ING, a Dutch bank, who has agreed to match fund all small donations to the scheme up to £2,000. Dhilhan Hannan, who works for ING Bank in the UK is also getting involved in the match.
He said: “These are two great causes and we’re really pleased to support them and have a day out to remember at the same time. If you can spare just a few pounds it will help us meet our target.”
Despite breaking his finger earlier in the season, Cllr Bigham was training in his back garden with his young son George hoping to emulate some of his heroes like Surrey legend Alec Stewart.
He said: “Even if I didn’t match his record, I’m pleased I scored a few more than Don Bradman did on his last match at the Oval where he got a duck.” Donations can still be made via www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/charitycricketmatch