England players support food charity

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Ryan Sidebottom

Seamer Ryan Sidebottom was among a group of players who distributed snacks to children at the Sher-e-Bangla school

England players took time away from their busy training schedule in Bangladesh to visit children at their primary school in Dhaka today.

The players, including Stuart Broad, Matt Prior, Ryan Sidebottom and Luke Wright spent the afternoon talking with children from the Sher-e-Bangla Government Primary School and handing out World Food Programme biscuits - snacks which help them concentrate and learn in class.

The highlight of the visit - organised as part of the "Cricket Against Hunger" partnership between WFP and the ECB - was a cricket match and training session, watched by a noisy crowd of children, teachers and visitors.

“It's wonderful to see firsthand how enthusiastic and lively the kids are - without these nourishing biscuits, many of them probably wouldn't even come to school," said Sidebottom, who has also visited WFP projects in Sri Lanka.

“WFP's school feeding programme has a real impact on children - it gives them the chance of a better future.”

Arif, one of the pupils, said: “It's a dream come true to play with these cricket stars - I'll never forget today - and what we've learnt!"

The match was preceded by a tour of the classrooms where the England players chatted and distributed WFP biscuits among the students.

For each day of attendance, a child receives one packet of eight biscuits - often first food the children eat in the day.

“We're very proud to have the England Cricket Team batting on WFP's side in the fight against hunger. The popularity of the game, as well as the celebrity status of leading players make them strong advocates for the poor and hungry.

“We look forward to working more closely with cricketers in the future,” said WFP Bangladesh representative John Aylieff.

Broad added: “It's been a real eye-opener for us - it's often easy to miss the poverty and hunger when you're caught up in a hectic cricket tour.

“This meeting, arranged by WFP, has been a reality check and makes you realize how little it takes to help children get the vital food they need.”

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