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Charity begins away from home for EDP

Posted in England U19s

Ben Foakes

Many of the lads seemed to have been affected for the better as it proved to be an eye-opening experience

Yesterday we took a step away from cricket to put on a day of fun for the children of the local townships.

We planned the day for the kids of the charity 'Together We Care', a project that supports children whose lives have been affected by their parents’ substance abuse, a few weeks before we got to South Africa as we wanted it to be a special day for them and something we could be really proud of.

Many things had to be planned before the day, which due to our tight schedule presented a challenge. Hester Parsons (the local Mother Teresa) and Purdy Miller, the England Development Programme under-19's personal development and welfare coach, helped us to arrange games, food and sponsorship money.

The day started with a trip to one of the local townships that some of the children we would be with later in the day came from. We took a tour through the areas, which was a memorable experience for a number of reasons.

We began by stopping at different places to have a look around and learn a bit of the history of the area. We were then taken into one of the houses where we met a traditional African healer, who showed us how she heals patients with HIV and other illnesses and conditions. It was interesting to say the least!

We then went to a field where the local children come together to play games in their free time. We all took a packed lunch, which I don't think any of us ate as the kids gave us the puppy-dog eyes and we all caved in and handed the food over.

After this we headed back to the cricket ground where we met the children we were running the day for. We had a number of games including cricket, football, volleyball and the main event, the water slide. The kids had a great time and were queuing up to get a go on the water slide, which not even players or coaches could resist a go on.

England Under-19

Reece Topley, pictured, and Paul Best tried to teach the kids some dancing. However, they were less than impressed with the show

We then had a barbecue, which we were hoping to cook ourselves. However health and safety said there would have been a very good chance of food poisoning so we left it to the professionals.

Whilst eating, the children performed their townships traditional dance. This was great to watch and actually really good!

Toppers (Reece Topley) and Besty (Paul Best) then went up and tried to teach the kids a thing or two with some mime dancing involving eating and slipping over an invisible banana. They were less than impressed with what our guys had to offer!

We decided to bring a bit of our English Christmas spirit to the day with some Christmas songs and Peter Burgoyne dressed as Santa. He handed out presents that we had bought from home to give the kids. Probably the first Santa to be seen in flip-flops but he was great none the less.

We had prepared a goody bag of sweets, games and cricket balls for them to take away with them and we said our goodbyes. Many of the lads seemed to have been affected for the better as it proved to be an eye-opening experience.

Now we have to get our minds back on the job as we have three practice games against North West Province, which should be a stern test.

England Under-19

Our time away from cricket when in South Africa proved to be very worthwhile

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