A GROUP of blind African children played cricket for the first time thanks to a Fareham charity.
A container of aid for Akropong – a deprived community in Ghana – has been delivered by Farm4Life, a charity run by husband and wife Lloyd and Karen Clewer, from Stubbington.
The charity has been running since 2003 and takes out aid to help set up schools, build drop-in medical centres and generally improve the living conditions of the country’s poorest people.
This year, the charity sent over cricket equipment to a school for blind children, which proved to be a big hit, and, according to its founder, helped seal the most successful trip yet.
Founder Lloyd, 55, said: ‘We took cricket to them. They had never even held a bat before, they didn’t even know what it was.
‘Cricket was the biggest thing we have ever done. It was so rewarding to see someone who’s never played cricket getting into the sport and enjoying it.’
Blind cricket is played with a larger ball and larger wickets, with more verbal signals. It has its own set of rules, which Lloyd had to brush up on before going.
‘I was scared stiff that they wouldn’t even be able to hit the ball,’ he said. ‘I’d even tried myself, and missed. So to see them listen and then hit it was marvellous.’
Lloyd said that even though he was a blind cricket novice himself, the Ghanaians held him up to be an expert and he even had to give an interview on national radio about the sport.
Lloyd said: ‘The cricket association thought I was some sort of coach, then I was put on the radio.
‘That’s the great thing, that even though I’m no cricket player, it’s all about the sport. It’s about being in a team.
‘By the end of our stay some of them were getting good. Kids in slums playing cricket, all they needed was the equipment.’
Equipment was given by West Hill Park School, Fareham, and balls from The Hampshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club. The items were presented to the Ghana Cricket Association.
Also in the container was medical equipment from the QA Hospital, Manor Way Surgery and recently-closed Lockswood surgery, which was donated to the Amasaman hospital.
The charity is in the process of gathering stock to put in another container to send in the spring. For more information call 01329 480266 or go to farm4life.org.