Wicketz Bristol runs Windrush legacy event at Lord Mayor’s invitation

Wicketz Bristol used the power of cricket to celebrate Caribbean culture at an event to mark the 70th anniversary of  the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush.

The Lord’s Taverners-funded project provided coaching for more than 20 girls at Bristol West Indies Phoenix CC after being invited by the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Cleo Lake.

Councillor Lake said that the historical importance of cricket in the West Indies made it the perfect sport to include as part of the 70th Anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush bringing migrants from the Caribbean to the UK.

He said: Cricket has long been seen as a sport of choice across the Commonwealth and as part of this year’s celebrations I want to encourage more local girls and women to get involved. Windrush 70 is a chance for us to recognise the great contribution that this community have made to this country’s society since 1948. It’s a chance to celebrate the rich culture we have here in Bristol which continues to have a huge effect on the feel, taste and look of the city.

“I hope that our celebrations today will help us to bring some fun to mark this great event and encourage a new generation to take up the sport. I’d like to thank everyone involved for helping to pull this event together and Wicketz Bristol for their professional coaching.”

The girls, who came from four local schools, were coached by New Zealand international and Western Storm player Rachel Priest who put on a fast paced fielding session.  She also inspired the girls by telling them of her pathway into cricket and her career in the game during a question and answer session.

Wicketz Development Officer Crispin Shingler, led an adapted version of cricket called ‘Five Bats’ which involved everyone including the Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress and PE teachers from the schools.

Following the conclusion of the cricket the participants had the chance to experience traditional West Indian food in the form of jerk chicken provided by Just Ryte caterers.

Jordon Goodchild, PE teacher at Fairfield High School said: “The girls had lots of fun learning new skills taught by the excellent Wicketz coaches alongside the Lord Mayor.

“The lovely thing about the festival was that all the schools were mixed up so our girls got to meet and play with girls from other schools. It was a fantastic day all round and it has definitely encouraged our girls to possibly take up cricket in their free time.”

Crispin Shingler, Wicketz Development Officer at the Gloucestershire Cricket Board said:

“It is a privilege and an honour for Wicketz Bristol to be invited by the Lord Mayor and be part of her Windrush 70 legacy. The day showcased what we already do at the Wicketz Bristol hubs – use cricket to educate young people and inspire them to get involved with the game.” - Crispin Shingler