ECB's 'Together Through This Test' campaign celebrates cricket's initiatives during coronavirus crisis
"If this crisis has shown us one thing, it's the way the cricket family pulls together when times are tough," says ECB's Clare Connor
Last Updated: 21/05/20 11:19am
The world's oldest surviving international cricketer believes a new campaign celebrating over 200 cricket initiatives is proof the game is a power for good during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eileen Whelan-Ash, who is aged 108, says the England and Wales Cricket Board's 'Together Through This Test' is a timely reminder of the huge range of initiatives undertaken by the cricket community.
The bowler, who represented England either side of the Second World War, said: "No cricket was played during the war, but the thought of it kept us going and gave us hope. I think it's the same now.
"Even without a ball being bowled yet this summer, I'm very proud to see the sport I've loved all my life playing its part to help people during this terrible crisis, keeping them hopeful of better times ahead."
'Together Through This Test' is a nationwide campaign that highlights how cricket staff, volunteers and players across the country - from both the professional and the recreational game - have already taken part in over 200 initiatives during lockdown.
Projects include long-distance charity runs, the delivery of food to the vulnerable, and the setting up of a dedicated phone support service for those left isolated by the pandemic.
In addition, the ECB has set up a COVID-19 resource hub on ecb.co.uk/covid-19, focussing on providing physical and mental health support to the general public, and delivering fun and educational interactive resources for children in partnership with Chance to Shine. It also includes eight weeks' worth of curriculum-based educational resources for children aged five to 11-years-old.
Clare Connor, ECB Managing Director of Women's Cricket, said: "Our sport means different things to different people but if this crisis has shown us one thing, it's the way the cricket family pulls together when times are tough.
"We are inspired by and grateful to the whole cricket family from the grassroots of the game right up to our elite teams for their incredible team spirit, for not just thinking about their own survival but also about how they can support the wider community.
"We hope this campaign will shine a light on the amazing work being done, help signpost people to the support they need and provide a feeling of hope and solidarity for cricket fans during this challenging time."
The ECB's key initiatives at this time include the running of 21 programmes, each providing food to NHS staff, the vulnerable and the homeless, and extra support for the isolated and vulnerable through #MakeThatCall where players past and present, coaches and staff ring older members and stewards from their club.
Three England Women's players - Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley - have offered their services to the NHS, while an auction hopes to raise money for local charities across England and Wales.
Run by Nottinghamshire CCC and involving all 18 first class counties, the MCC and the Professional Cricketers Association, the auction launches at 3pm on May 22 and runs until 3pm on May 29. For more details, visit http://www.cricketauction.co.uk.
For more information on the resources available, please visit www.ecb.co.uk/covid-19. To become a volunteer, please visit the website and contact your local county club.