London Saints

Cricket Tour Fundraising

At the time of writing we have 45 (numbers have fluctuated between 32 and 48 over recent months) paid up and travelling to the West Indies at the end of May 2014 for up to 14 days and nights. Preparations are continuing with hopefully four games of cricket (at least we are not going to have the usual trouble of fielding a full 11 out there) two in Tobago and two on Trinidad with the highlight being a match at the Queen’s Park Oval Test Match ground. This will be the 3rd test match ground that the London Saints cricket team have graced and 4th international ground if we also include the Royal Brussels Cricket ground (did Scotland ever play on Leith Links where we played in Edinburgh ?)

Away from the cricket we have a welcome party at the Tobago House of Assembly hosted by the Chief Secretary and various media commitments, courtesy of Dave Nanton’s journalistic contacts so I must brush up on my etiquette !! Through another member of the tour party Joe Ramdial we have contacts with Brian Lara’s family and in turn his fund raising Foundation. I have done my best to explain that we are a bunch of old gits with limited (stressed this bit) cricketing abilities but they are going to well and truly give us a warm West Indian welcome and so to reciprocate and thus fully enjoy the experience we will be raising money for good local causes on both islands.

When we toured Sri Lanka we raised over £8,000 for specific local Tsunami projects and when we played at Lords for our 30th anniversary raised over £3,000 for the Ex Saints sponsored causes. Our aim this time is £10,000 split between both islands for underprivileged schools with specific links to cricketing facilities and the Brian Lara Foundation. Rumours that we are only choosing the latter so that we get to meet the great man are totally unfounded, though I have heard he throws a mean bar-b-cue. This is a tight target especially in the time available and we are open for any ideas and support.

Being diplomatic our squad is not the youngest, fittest and most lithe in cricketing circles so I have, on behalf of the governments healthy living and anti obesity agenda, thrown down a challenge for the squad to lose some weight and get fit. Those interested (and it is in all our health interests at our age) have started to lose weight (some others may need more encouragement!) and, as an incentive, to raise money via a sponsored weight loss campaign – £5 or £10 for every pound lost. This will start as self-sponsorship as it is everyone’s interest to lose weight but others are welcome to support individuals. I am confident this will raise well over £500 (I am already down £230 and others are well under way so the challenge has been laid down)

I was reluctantly dragged along one evening in September by a group of work colleagues to run with them once a week on Hampstead Heath and after a few weeks of really struggling realised how unfit I had become and that it would really help to lose some weight and get fitter for the hot weather we are going to experience in the Windies. So the next stage was wondering how I would keep this interest going over the cold winter months and then hit upon a ‘Eureka‘ moment (similar to the sponsored walk before Sri Lanka) to have a goal to aim for and at the same time be able to raise money for our West Indian charities. I thought about a Half Marathon and searching the internet the one in Fleet in March appealed to me as I was born there and not really been back for 25 years and looking at the course it went past my old house and school. I thought that I might get one or two others to join me (let’s face it at our age and in the shape most of us are in) but have been amazed and greatly encouraged by the fact that 13 others have paid deposits to take part and also to raise money.

So take a bow (in order of signing up) Andy Mayhew, Trevor Mayhew, Peter Berkeley, Damian Chalmers, Nick Head, Gavin Van Marle, Neil Hotston, Garry Burrell, Pamela Nisbet, Pete Rattue, Mike McIntyre, Emma McIntyre and Dave Nanton. As ten of the fourteen runners are going on the tour at least we should have some relatively fit players given that they don’t break down before or after or during the run!!

If anyone else would like to join us please let me know as I want to make it a London Saints Club event and also the reason for choosing Fleet is that it’s almost halfway between London and Southampton and easy to get to. I don’t think anyone should underestimate the challenge ahead for many of us who have never run more than 5 miles before but it’s all for a good cause which I hope the club will support collectively and individually by sponsoring us, coming along on the day or by even joining us by running.

I will be setting up a London Saint Justgiving page in the New Year with full details of the charities we are supporting along with the weight loss and half marathon campaigns and would hope that all London Saints members will support and sponsor us. All other ideas and fundraising opportunities are more than welcome – we will approach fellow APFSCIL clubs as well as our cricketing opponents and anyone else we can think of. We are looking for sponsorship from Monarch (whom we fly with as well as from our travel agents and The Hilton Hotel chain – we are not proud. Steve Keenan has volunteered to do a tour programme like he did for our Lords anniversary and for those who saw or bought it will appreciate that it will be well worth buying – further details later.

Please keep tuned to the website or our Facebook pages (we will also send out club emails) for further details and we all look forward to your support in whatever form that may take.

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