By Carlena Knight
It was a day of celebration for the young gentlemen of the Antigua Grammar School (AGS) on Monday morning when the school was gifted with cricket gear through the Cricket Kindness Project.
The venture began under the name Caribbean Children’s Cricket Charity early in 2016 by Tamara Lowe, in her then home of Sydney, Australia, and has since been providing cricket equipment to disadvantaged children across the Caribbean, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific.
“It’s really an honour to be here today, especially on Sir Viv’s birthday. My team and I are happy to be here and to continue the work we have been doing. It’s a joy to visit the schools across the island,” Lowe said.
However, the excitement did not stop there for the young men as national hero Sir Vivian Richards, a former AGS student himself, made an appearance to kickstart his 70th birthday celebrations.
The ‘Master Blaster’ thanked Lowe for the work she has been doing over the years.
“To have someone and all who are apart of this group over the years helping the sport that I love so much, it’s really a heart-warming thing and I just want to thank Tamara and her team,”
He also encouraged the students to take advantage of the opportunity of being in school and learning all that they can.
“You don’t want that years down the road you say what if, I did this or that. Learn as much as you can learn now. I can tell you that practice helps. When I was at this school practicing hard made me who I am today and once you guys really focus and take education seriously you can be successful as well,” Sir Viv admonished.
His sentiments were echoed by another ‘old boy’ and Sports Commissioner Colin James.
James, who was also present at the festivities encouraged the students to be the “best version of Sir Viv that they can be.
“If you become the next great cricketer, then that’s fine; but you can also be the Sir Viv of journalism, the Sir Viv of accounting, the Sir Viv of business. Anything you want to do, work hard, set your goals and don’t give up on achieving them,” James said.
To date, over 60,000 items of sporting equipment and uniforms have been provided to underprivileged cricket-loving children and teenagers around the world, and in Antigua and Barbuda specifically, over 9,500 items to 37 primary schools, nine secondary, and eight college teams have been gifted.
Many schools, such as the Five Islands Primary, Old Road Primary, Irene B Williams Secondary, and Villa Primary have received kit donations on more than one occasion.
Lowe will also be hosting a benefit dinner today.
The Cricket Kindness benefit dinner will be held at the Catherine’s Café in English Harbour will help to raise funds to help the Cricket Kindness project continue fulfilling their mission supporting disadvantaged Caribbean communities with cricket equipment.
“We are looking forward to many people coming to the dinner straight after stumps on day one of the West Indies vs England Test match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium,” Lowe added.
It is her hope to one day expand the Cricket Kindness project to assist needy communities with educational resources for school and university students, and fund school breakfast programmes.
Residents are being encouraged to support the worthy cause.
Tickets can be purchased on www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cricket-kindness-dinner-tickets-252158963247 or by logging on to www.cricketcharity.org.
The three-course dinner and welcome cocktail event starts at 6.30pm with special guest Sir Vivian Richards in attendance.