Celebrity supporters of The Lord’s Taverners, recreational cricket’s official charity, took to the wicket at Lord’s Cricket Ground yesterday (Saturday 7th August) to celebrate the charity's Diamond Jubilee and its ongoing efforts to give disadvantaged youngsters a sporting chance.
The day began with a service at St John’s Wood church in memory of the organisation's founding members, before moving to Lord's Cricket Ground for an afternoon of cricket, fun and fundraising hosted by actor Robert Powell and former England Women’s Cricket Captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, current President of The Lady Taverners.
Personalities from the worlds of TV, sport and entertainment came to show their support, including: The Lord’s Taverners President, Chris Tarrant; Strictly star, Ricky Groves; ITN News presenter, Mark Austin; Radio 1 DJ, Greg James; TV presenter, John Craven; actress, Linda Lusardi; comedian, Dan Renton Skinner ('Angelos Epithemiou' in BBC Two panel show Shooting Stars) and actor, Robert Glenister ('Ash Morgan' in BBC One series Hustle). The day raised an impressive £27,000 for the charity.
The celebrity cricket match was the highlight of the day, with Dr James Hull, a long-time supporter of The Lady Taverners, leading his Drillers XI against The Lord’s Taverners XI. A century from South Africa international, Herschelle Gibbs, and half century from Middlesex and England's Owais Shah helped the Drillers set the Taverners a 35-over total of 241. The Lord's Taverners, led by former England batsman, Chris Adams, made a strong start in reply but, with rain stopping play halfway through the Taverners' innings and the Duckworth-Lewis method put firmly to one side, the match ended in a sporting draw.
Matthew Patten, Chief Executive of The Lord’s Taverners, commented: “Every year The Lady Taverners host this fitting tribute to the founding fathers of The Lord's Taverners and it keeps getting better and better. The day brings a host of our supporters together where the charity was first established 60 years ago and, thanks to the ongoing support of Dr James Hull, raises vital funds to help us give more young people a sporting chance.”
As part of its drive to provide wheelchair-accessible minibuses at a rate of nearly one per week, four Lord’s Taverners minibuses were yesterday presented to Greenfields School (Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan), The Orpheus Centre (Godstone, Surrey), Marjorie McClure (Chislehurst, Kent) and National Star College (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire). Since 1975 the charity has distributed over 900 accessible minibuses to schools and youth organisations across the UK, helping improve mobility and access for thousands of young people with disabilities and special needs.