World Twenty20 thrills hearing impaired volunteers

Newham Volunteers

In recognition of their support of the ECB’s vCricket Programme, a group of young, hearing impaired volunteers from Forest Gate Youth Zone were given the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony of the ICC World Twenty20 at Lord’s on June 5, 2009.

Katie Blake, Group Leader, relives the experience to Chris Lock, ECB vCricket Manager for London and The East:

The young people were so excited on the way, the anticipation was clear for all to see. This was the first opportunity for some of them to watch a live cricket match and some would never be able to have the experience due to their social, cultural and economic circumstances.

Newham Volunteers

As we entered the ground, they were just amazed. They stood frozen for a few minutes just lapping up the first view that greeted them. We took our seats just under the canopy so when it started to rain we only had the fine spray which was welcomed to cool them down a bit!

The players arrived on the field. What a roar. The deaf young people could feel the vibrations of the cheering and the stamping. It was a magical atmosphere.

The music was great, providing sounds that some of them could pick up even if they could not follow the words.

Newham Volunteers

There was a mixture of English fans and supporters from The Netherlands. We were surrounded by lots of schoolchildren, corporate people and the ‘Barmy Army’ and many looked on as the young people used their sign language, their hands flashing about with excitement.

The supporters realised what was happening and saw the enjoyment on their faces. They then smiled and nodded with understanding.

The match was nail-biting, we assumed that England would win. What a shock. One deaf young person said that to just say that England lost does not do the situation justice because it was such a great match.

One of the highlight for the girls was when the England Women's team came onto the field with their world cup - what a surprise!

At the youth club on the following Friday, some of the young people had taped the highlights and using British Sign Language they explained what had happened and some of the game rules to their friends.

Newham Volunteers

We are now hoping to set up a project where they will explain all the rules in BSL and it will be filmed so that we can use it for other Deaf young people. We aim to link it in to a Duke of Edinburgh Award and of course, the ECB’s vCricket Programme.

Finally, here are some ‘signbites’ from our young volunteers:

"It's real life. Look at the colours " - Rebecca, aged 19

"I saw the England team, wow" - Rhahi, aged 15

"My posters have come to life they are running, bowling and catching. I'm so happy" - Praful

"I can feel the noise, I can see the faces. I can see the ball. I can see everything" - Rebecca

"The ball is so fast and the bowlers run a long way" - Hitesh

"Luke Wright is the best, he can bowl, he can field, he is fast" - Manpreet, age 10

"Thank you Chris for a wonderful experience" - Katie, Youth Worker