THE CRICKETER’S HEROES OF 2020: Bready Cricket Club in Northern Ireland cooked for their community and helped Cricket Ireland stage inter-provincial cricket in the strangest of summers
There is no denying that 2020 has been an incredibly hard year for recreational cricketers across the length and breadth of the British Isles.
COVID has isolated communities in some instances, blocking those who are perhaps elderly or vulnerable from the outside world.
With that being said, this pandemic has shown us that there can be tremendous community spirit and those areas where the cricket clubs are the heartbeat of the community have been rewarded as clubs are giving back at this time of crisis.
That is why for my hero of 2020, I am not nominating one person, but instead a group of people. The Cricketing Cooks of Bready Cricket Club on the outskirts of Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
Week after week during the first lockdown, a team of dedicated volunteers served up over a hundred meals for friends of the club, the elderly and the vulnerable.
Cooks hard at work in the kitchen of Bready CC. Photo credit and top photo credit: Trevor Hamilton
In total, they dished out over 1,000 meals with the help of local businesses and authorities – all of which were greatly received. These meals typically consisted of meat and two vegetables as well as a dessert to polish things off.
Club committee member, Trevor Hamilton said: “The feedback was really good,” said Hamilton. “It’s not just the fact that they were getting meals – it’s the fact that they were getting thought of. Elderly people, maybe those in their eighties, were just delighted. They knew that there was someone there in their time of need.”
When Steve Elworthy’s time came, he did it well
On top of COVID, helping out the community and organising their own club fixtures, Bready also had a number of inter-provincial matches to arrange at short notice for Cricket Ireland. Battling difficult weather conditions well into September, the grounds team can hold their heads up high knowing that they produced some great surfaces in such a short space of time, allowing them to help Cricket Ireland put their List-A and T20 competitions on the map!
Fitness and mental wellbeing have also been such important issues throughout this pandemic. The club held regular circuit classes for their members and fun cricket sessions for their youth teams, ensuring that everyone from the top of the club to the bottom had their opportunity to interact with friends and enjoy themselves, socially distanced of course…
For youngsters at the club, the past number of months have been exceptionally tricky; home-schooling, not seeing friends face-to-face, not being able to say goodbye to peers at school if they are leaving primary or secondary school to begin their new chapter; the list goes on.
The club realised this and organised for a number of children from the under-11 and under-13 sides to a nearby outdoor activity centre. There were plenty of smiles and everyone was happy.
From a distance, it looks like everyone at Bready has chipped in and done their bit to help each other get through this tough period. Everyone at the club should be extremely proud of their efforts. They are a credit to their local community!
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