GRANT ‘Stumpy’ Neven, one of the best-known characters in Dorset Cricket, is set to embark on a trip to Africa in aid of Cricket Without Boundaries.
The Portland Red Triangle secretary has volunteered to travel to Kenya next February to help educate and empower the local communities there through the spread and growth of cricket.
Since its formation in 2005, CWB has become one of the world’s leading cricket development and AIDS awareness charities but it does rely almost entirely on the dedication and enthusiasm of its volunteers.
As one such person, Neven is in the process of trying to raise a minimum of £750 to cover the project costs. He is also responsible for his own flights and personal expenses.
The islander’s first fundraising initiative is a ‘24-hour Cricketathon’, which will take place at Osprey Leisure Centre on Portland on November 3, starting at midday.
Supporters and cricketers of all ages and abilities are invited to take part and anyone wishing to find out more or make a donation can contact Neven on 07887943621.
The popular county coach said: “I have had a great life and met a lot of great people through playing cricket and coaching, so to have this opportunity to do something for such a worthwhile cause that is so close to my heart is something I am really excited about.
“AIDS and HIV are so rife in Africa, particularly amongst teenagers, so to have the chance to go out there and make a bit of a difference through the sport I love is just fantastic.”
Neven went on to add: “It will actually be my first-ever trip to Africa and I need to raise a minimum of £750.
“I have also got to raise funding for my flights, inoculations and renewing my passport and things like that.
“I would like to raise around £2,000, if possible – any more than that will go to the charity.”
Going on to comment on the Cricketathon, Neven said: “Hopefully lots of people will come along and support.
“Obviously, I don’t expect anyone to play the full 24 hours but anyone there at the end will be given a free swim courtesy of Osprey, which continues to be absolutely fantastic.
“I am also planning other fundraising events including a raffle, a quiz, and maybe even a half-marathon.
“I would also like to thank the staff at Dorchester Learning for helping me raise funds along with the Dorset Rangers and West Dorset Youth League, who have already made donations.
“I am also planning to take a bag of equipment out there including old stumps, pads and gear left in the pavilion at Portland Red Triangle.
“Now is the time to really start gearing this up and any support would be really appreciated.”
Working primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, CWB has sent projects to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
In the process it has coached tens of thousands of children in some of the poorest communities in the world as well as training several thousand adults to become ICC qualified cricket coaches.
The initiative’s training sessions involve discussion and practical demonstrations of simple cricket and non-cricket related drills that deal with HIV/AIDS, both in terms of prevention and treatment.
But it is not just about staying healthy, it is also about ensuring equality of treatment for those with the disease. Stigma is a huge challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. That is why CWB sessions are about inclusiveness for all people, whatever their status.
For more information about CWB (UK charity number 1111316) visit cricketwithoutboundaries.com