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Warwickshire Director of Cricket Ashley Giles and batsman Ian Bell recently swapped their cricket bats for irons and putters as they played at a charity golf day in Stratford-upon-Avon, raising money for Cure Leukaemia, a Birmingham-based charity.
They joined forces with other cricketers and ex-footballers as part of a series of link-ups with Warwickshire CCC to raise the profile of the charity and raise funds.
Already this year local children have been given the chance to design a t-shirt which will be worn by hundreds of people during the third Test between England and India at Edgbaston and the squad has visited Cure Leukaemia’s headquarters in Birmingham.
The cause is one close to former England international Giles’s heart and he has been a patron for several years.
"Cure Leukaemia is a charity that I’ve supported since I benefited from it back in 2006," he said.
"It’s a local charity, Birmingham-based but potentially a world-class centre in terms of research and curing Leukaemia, so now the good thing for us is that you can see where almost every penny is spent, as you can go and visit the research centre, see the nurses, see the treatment, visit the patients, and we’re very proud to have it in Birmingham.
"We know the doctors well and it’s more like a family than a charity association," he added.
The charity is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and it highlights the importance of the fight against Leukaemia which tragically still claims lives of thousands of people every day.
Warwickshire CCC has built a strong and positive relationship with Cure Leukaemia having raised over £50,000 already for the charity.
And Bell, who recently helped England to Test and One-Day International series, is also committed to supporting the excellent work going on – both with Cure Leukaemia and Acorns Children’s Hospice.
"We also have other things - supporting Acorns Children’s Hospice throughout the year and obviously it’s nice to help Cure Leukaemia, and to do them both as much as you can," he said.
"We’ve tried to support Acorns all the way through the year the more we can do that and hopefully help it, it’s really worth it."
Bell has chosen the charity, which provides care and support to life-limited and life-threatened children and their families across the heart of England, for his Benefit Year.
And although everybody involved was there to enjoy themselves and get a round of golf in ahead of a dinner in the evening, they didn't lose sight of the fund-raising goal behind the events.
"The guys really enjoyed turning up and supporting the cause," Bell confirmed.
"At these times, there is always a great effort from everyone who supports these sorts of charities," Giles added.
"People have gone and put their hands in their pockets, and they’re doing that again today for a good cause. We always appreciate it and we hope they have a fun day. The weather’s good, it should stay dry, we should have a laugh and we should raise loads of money for Cure Leukaemia, on the way, so it’s good for everyone."
Ian Bell and his group during the day (Helen Randle Photography)
A group including Nick Newbold and Patrick Cassidy gets into the swing of things (Helen Randle Photography)
To listen to the full interviews with Bell and Giles, in which they also discuss Warwickshire's and England's season, as well as the day itself, click here.
© Cricket World 2011
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