Fresh from leading England’s Test team to victory in South Africa, Alastair Cook helped to inspire the next generation of England cricketers at the Gray-Nicolls factory in Robertsbridge this week.
Chance to Shine pupils from Robertsbridge Community College worked with Gray-Nicolls’ expert bat makers to prepare the England captain’s bat. He then returned the favour and crafted a bat for the budding young cricketers.
Chance to Shine announced a five-year deal for Gray-Nicolls to be their ‘official kit supplier’.
The partnership is an opportunity to inspire future generations of cricketers and is part of Chance to Shine’s mission to spread the power of cricket.
Speaking at the event, Alastair Cook said: “Chance to Shine do a fantastic job getting cricket back into state schools.
“Cricket has to be available for every single person, every single kid to try.
“Three million children is an extraordinary number.
“As we all know, with cricket you need equipment, and why not get involved with the best company around in Gray-Nicolls.”
Robertsbridge pupil Charlie Wilson said: “I really enjoyed the morning. It was so much fun and great to be given the opportunity to meet the England cricket captain.”
Richard Gray, sales and marketing director at Gray-Nicolls, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Chance to Shine. We have admired their fantastic work since their inception and feel very proud to now be part of their inspirational drive to get more children playing cricket and helping to safeguard the future of cricket; a passion we all share.”
Luke Swanson, Chance to Shine chief executive added, “Gray-Nicolls is a family company with a unique heritage in cricket stretching back more than 140 years. We can’t claim such a tradition, but we do share a deep commitment to inspiring each new generation to play and learn through cricket. It is fitting that England’s captain and all-time leading test run-scorer – and a long-time Chance to Shine ambassador – should launch this new partnership. The support of such icons of the game gives us great confidence that we can spread the power of cricket to many more young players, schools and communities.”
Gray-Nicolls will provide kit to the county cricket boards and coaches who deliver Chance to Shine and will make a donation to the charity for every item sold.
Robertsbridge pupils play and enjoy cricket thanks to National Lottery funding through Sport England.
Since 2012, the £7.5 million National Lottery investment has helped secondary school pupils to set up their own ‘satellite’ cricket clubs in the UK.