Gatting at the historic first cricket match at the iconic Oval gasholder organised by the Lord’s Taverners and Berkeley

Mike Gatting hails Lord’s Taverners for work in disability cricket

Former England captain Mike Gatting has hailed the Lord’s Taverners for their vital work in disability cricket – admitting that it rarely fails to bring a tear to his eye.

Lord’s Taverners provide innovative, inclusive, and impactful cricket programmes, empowering young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged communities to develop the knowledge, skills, capabilities, and confidence required to overcome the challenges of inequality, raise their aspirations, and reach their potential.

Gatting, who made 79 Test outings on top of 92 ODI appearances for England, can’t help but emphasise how vital it is that cricket is accessible to everyone regardless of ability, citing the sport’s social benefits as vital for young people.

“When I first started with the Taverners, you would see kids who were very, very disabled – but they love playing together in the team,” said Gatting, speaking at a historic first cricket match at the iconic Oval gasholder organised by the Lord’s Taverners and Berkeley.

“Their carers can see them making friends and they would travel around and meet new friends. They were part of a team and they loved being part of a team. It was part of their life and they really enjoyed it enormously.”

“Sitting down watching Table Creek Finals at Lord’s, I still have a tear or two, because the passion is there but they’re happy, they enjoy it, they want to play, and it’s something that is there for them. The kids are just extraordinary.”

The Lord’s Taverners hosted a unique cricket match inside the famous gas holder outside the Oval on Tuesday, commemorating the iconic structure as it makes way for housing.

The event was put on to announce the charity new three-year partnership with the Berkeley Foundation, worth £750,000.

Acting as unofficial umpire for the game, Gatting was sure to highlight the value of the partnership – with the money set to go to great use in spreading the word of the Taverners’ cause.

“That will help certainly go into a lot more SEN schools,” he added. “We have a number of projects that go on, and the money will go in there to enable us to get more coaches out there, and get more people involved.

“We want to make it sustainable so that we can continue to build and give people a chance to play sport, whatever ability or capability that we have.”

Gatting was joined at the event by England and Surrey disability cricket star Jonny Gale, who knows from first-hand experience just how effective the sport can be at shining a light into people’s lives.

“I’ve seen in first hand experience how many people love the game and if it’s not so much about cricket, it’s just building communities,” Gale said.

“People are making lifelong friends and feeling that they have a place within society. There’s one big thing with disability sport and it’s that there’s always that sense of it’s them versus the rest of the world and vice versa.

“By using cricket we can try and bridge that gap more so it’s incredible how cricket can just help many people both directly and indirectly.”

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