On Sunday 13th September 2015, Help for Heroes were invited by The Will Associates to attend the Cricket Ground in Market Drayton, Shropshire to be part of their inaugural charity cricket match in aid of Help for Heroes. Two of The Will Associates directors are former servicemen, Alan Gardiner (CEO) serving in the Royal Air force Regiment for 10 years and Paul DuBois (National Training Director) a PTI in the Army for 20 years, both of whom have an infinity with the military.
The match was used by the H4H team as a warm up to their match against a Rest of World XI as an end of season finale on the 17th September. It was to be the inaugural international Help for Heroes Twenty20 cricket fundraiser. Supported by global cricket stars past and present, with Sir Ian Botham as team manager and captained by Andrew Strauss. Gary Kirsten, one of South Africa’s greatest ever batsman and Sunil “Sunny” Gavaskar who lead a Rest of World XI of international stars.
The fun didn't just stop with the cricket. The day was packed full of fun activities for all ages as there was face painting, a bouncy castle, football shoot-out, live music, speed cage, cake stalls and refreshments to name a few.
The Will Associates are one of the proud sponsors of the Help for Heroes team, having previously contributed by supplying the team with their jackets and caps.
The Help for Heroes is a charity that is very close to the heart of The Will Associates CEO and former RAF Regiment serviceman Alan Gardiner, who said:
"It's so easy to support this charity. The fact that two of the Directors are ex-military themselves means we have a real connection to these men and women. We are really proud to be able to help these men and women rebuild their confidence and deal with the reality of their new life.
Barrie Griffiths H4H Ambassador was my former boss in the RAF Regiment. He asked me for sponsorship of the cricket team and to me, it was a no brainer. For what these young men and women have sacrificed it seemed like it's the least we could do.
We thoroughly enjoyed the day, even though the H4H guys and girls gave The Will Associates a good hiding. It's an honour to continue to support these incredible young men and women."
Help for Heroes cricket team player Barrie Griffiths said: "Since my injuries, the Help for Heroes Cricket Club has offered me, not only the physical benefits of keeping fit and active, but also has had a huge psychological and social benefit impact on me. The players have built self-esteem and a sense of pride in belonging to a close-knit group with a clear identity. This is generally the single-biggest factor that the guys say they have missed since suffering life-changing injuries and illnesses."
"Cricket has enabled me to have fun, to regain my confidence and given me the ability to focus on what I can do and not what I can’t. It has rekindled my pride, my self-respect and my sense of worth and has also given me an opportunity to help those vulnerable servicemen and veterans who may be in a less blessed situation than myself."
The day proved to be a huge success with over £4,000 being raised in the process. However, it's not too late to donate to this wonderful cause. If you would like to donate then please don't hesitate to click HERE.