Thank you @SteelbacksCheer @legsout4LB @northantsccc

So there we were, meeting and chatting to the Northampton CCC squad, getting the Charity Oars and Charity Bats signed, all to help our fundraising campaign. Then all of a sudden the rather dashing Steelback Cheerleaders rather elegantly strolled past.

Now at first glances I was a tad confused because there was one cheerleader that stood out, and what an amazing ambassador to the club, cricket and professionalism this cheerleader was…..! Would it be too much to ask this amazing dancing, cheery bundle of excitement for Northampton CCC to sign the Charity Oars?


We couldn’t stop ourselves….!

Shortly afterwards the jolly chapesses (aka SteelBack Cheer) walked past. As a Charity Thrombosis UK, have another fundraising campaign running, it’s a fun campaign called “Legs Out 4 Lifeblood”, now I have personally had my legs out in support for the campaign and a mighty fine leg I still have…! lol….!!

So we chatted to the SteelBack Cheerleaders and we explained about our other campaign and within minutes they came up with this wonderful photo in support of Legs Out 4 Lifeblood. The response was so wonderful, the amazing dancers that form the SteelBack Cheerleaders were so kind to take time to help our campaign. So we’d like to say “thank you” for your kind support and for the fun and cheery support she offered the campaign.

Text CLOT70 £1 to 70070 to donate

IMG_3175 Cheerleaders legs out4LB

Kumar Sangakkara @OfficialSLC @KumarSanga2 meets the @charityoars @northantsccc

So as you know I love the game of cricket, in my ageing mind I’m remembering facts like how I scored more runs and took more wickets during my sporting career. Who knows, by the time I’m 60 I might have even scored a Century for England at Lords, just they spelt my name wrong on the honours board in the changing room…!

Well the Charity Oars and I found ourselves back at the County Ground (Northampton) today’s opposition were Surrey.  The wonderful Catherine Woolley made us welcome and we even managed to grab a quick chat with recent England 1 Day squad player David Willey, more opportunities he hopes will come his way. We’re pretty sure they will.

So who were we there to meet you may wonder? Well he’s a Sri Lankan Test cricketer, a former one-day and T20 player, and former captain of the Sri Lankan national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

Well we were there to meet the amazingly talented, skilful, professional, respected and loved Kumar Sangakkara. So we stood casually by the players stairs, again, it’s amazing the attention that an 8 foot wooden oar makes at a cricket match.

On the plus side, I had spoken to Church (the media chap at Surrey CCC) so the fact that there was a 6 foot chap with an 8 foot wooden oar at a cricket match shouldn’t have been too odd..!

Then up walked the man himself, a polite smile and a warm handshake. I was then about to ask Kumar Sangakkara, one of the finest batsmen of all time, someone who with 11 double centuries, is second in the list of Test double century-makers, behind only Donald Bradman, and is also the first cricketer ever to score 150+ scores in four consecutive Test matches. Likewise, he is the only batsman in history to score four consecutive centuries in ODI matches. Highest score of 319, over 12000 runs, In terms of number of innings required, Sangakkara is the fastest batsman to reach 8,000, 9,000, 11,000 and 12,000 runs in Test cricket, so it could be said that the only thing still to achieve was to meet and sign the Charity Oars…! (Well i like to think so) lol

All I can say is when we chatted, and then when the Charity Oar was in front of him, he was the ultimate professional and so genuine in his interest and willingness to help our campaign.  We were able to talk about Thrombosis, DVT’s and Pulmonary Embolisms and what the campaign was all about. I must admit though, despite his kind smiles and comments, I still felt a bit odd about asking such  great cricketer to sign an oar…!!

So the cricketing legend and all round gentleman Kumar Sangakkara duly signed the Charity Oars and a card, we shook hands and off he went. It truly was a pleasure to meet such a respected sportsman and to have such a player offer his support for our campaign means a great deal.

So Kumar Sangakkara headed out to bat, he scored yet another Century, signed the Charity Oars, all in all another great day for  one of the greatest batsman of all times…!

Thank you Kumar, you are a true gentleman and your support has been wonderful.



Kumar Sangakarra 02 Kumar Sangakarra signature

The charming @JadeJones11 @Callumhall_ say hello to the @charityoars

While we were at Stoke Mandeville there were a couple of other athletes we were keen to meet. Jade Jones and Callum Hall, 2 young, inspirational and talented athletes. We’d been tweeting each other for a while, and on this day by chance they were in the same place at the same time, seemed rude not to wave an 8 foot wooden oar in front of them..!

Jade Jones is an English wheelchair racer, competing in T54 events. Jade is the British record holder over 400/5000m and she competed at the London 2012 paralympics. Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist.

As for Callum Hall, well he’s a young man from Leeds, he was left paralysed after a horrible incident and is now training for the Rio Paralympics 2016. He’s also a top chap. On the 26th September 2012 Callum became paralysed through an infection (epidural Abcess) on his spine caused by standing on a sea urchin.

Both Jade and Callum are coached by Ian thompson and Tanni Grey-Thompson, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tanni last year, and the competitiveness, passion for athletics and enthusiasm that has helped Tanni become such a sporting legend is clear to see in both Jade and Callum.

We had the pleasure of chatting to both Jade and Callum, and their drive and competitive spirit is infectiuos and really great to see. So many people are affected by adversity and yes maybe our life plans can take sharp detours, but the attitude, focus, drive and determination of both Jade and Callum showed such tenacity that it’s hard not to admire.

Of course, we were proud to have met 2 amazing Paralympians and to have their kind support for our campaign means a great deal to everyone connected with raising awareness of thrombosis.

So Jade and Callum, many thanks for your time. It was wonderful meeting you both, and here’s to Gold in Rio 2016.


Paul and the Charity Oars

Callum Hall May 2015

When @HCDream2012 met the @charityoars

Hannah Cockroft MBE May 2015

Well it was a rainy (in fact very rainy) Sunday morning as the Charity Oars travelled to Stoke Mandeville to meet a sporting legend (in the making, and doing very well at it). We were off to meet Hannah Cockroft MBE, an amazing sportswoman who is the World, Paralympic and European Champion specialising in sprint distances in the T34 classification.

Not only does Hannah hold the Paralympic and World Records for both the 100 metres T34 and 200 metres T34, but whilst competing for Great Britain in the 2012 Summer Paralympics won 2 Gold Medals.

So the lovely Ellisa and I casually strolled into the athletic arena, trying to look as casual as possible whilst carrying an 8 foot oar (not an easy thing to do it has to be said). Now I’m not a superstitious person, but the moment the Charity Oars arrived, the sunshine appeared and the rain stopped..!

As we sat and watched the athletes compete, it’s fair to say that the athlete’s professionalism and sporting talents were on show, and that their talents were a spectacle to see and enjoy.

Then up came Hannah, with her team from 17 Management (Ian and Boo). It’s always tricky to try and judge how cheeky we can be. I mean, Hannah is a World renowned athlete and from Yorkshire and they’re a feisty lot from the County of the white rose…! Well, we had nothing to worry about at all, she was blooming lovely as were Ian and Boo..! We chatted for a while and then we had some photographs taken. The sky started to look less cheery so we headed inside. What was wonderful to see was the excitement and joy other visitors to the meeting had when they chatted with or had selfies with Hannah. Seeing Hannah spend time with 2 young children in wheelchairs, it was magical to see how much their faces lit up, maybe, rather hopefully Hannah inspired 2 more athletes.

Hannah, through her public position supports a range of charities Whizz KidzForget Me Not Childrens HospiceSpider-y and the Jane Tomlinson appeal. To have Hannah spend time and to offer her support for the Charity Oars campaign and for Thrombosis UK, means a great deal.

Please give Hannah a follow if you’re on Twitter or follow her on Facebook because she is inspirational and it was a pleasure to have the time to talk with her and to find out more of her ambitions and future goals.

Thank you Hannah…!

Thanks @NorthantsCCC

So there we were, sat in the “old village sweet shop”, the Charity Oars looking resplendent in their signatures, and the Charity Cricket Bats looking equally happy, if not a tad short of signatures. With the start of the cricket season shortly about to start so we dropped our good friends at Northampton County Cricket Club a quick cheeky email to see if they could help us with our campaign.

We waited, and waited ….. Then 30 minutes later we received an email from Catherine Woolley the Marketing Manager at NCCC “we’d love to help your campaign, why not come to our press day?” Well I sat there for a few minutes, pondered the very kind offer, made a coffee and returned to the email, in a calm sort of way I replied “that would be wonderful, thank you so much”. At least that’s what I hoped I emailed back, to be honest it was probably more akin to “yes, oh yes, oh yes, thank you, thank you oh thank you…!!”

So off we headed to the County Ground, one Charity Oar, 2 Charity Cricket Bats and a bag full of memories of the ground, the indoor nets and some great days.

We’d been chatting to a few of the squad Alex Wakely (@alexwakely1), Richard Levi (RichardLevi88), Kyle Coetzer (MeerGoose11), Muhammad Azhar (Azhar_ullah), Rory Kleinveldt (@RoryK_9) and David Willey (@david_willey), for a while, so when we arrived the site of a handmade wooden oar at a press day wasn’t a huge shock.

We had a fantastic morning, chatting with Catherine, Richard, Alex, Muhammad, Kyle and the rest of the squad. It was amusing as they worked their way up from signing shirts, bats and, and, “is this an oar?” As professional sportsmen, the awareness and understanding of Thrombosis (DVT’s and Pulmonary Embolisms) is openly discussed by players, support staff and management, and this is wonderful to see and to hear about.

What makes a club like Northamptonshire CCC work and also mean so much to the local and cricketing communities are factors like their genuine awareness and consideration for giving back to the community and to supporting campaigns like Charity Oars. The response during the morning from the players, management and sponsors was commendable and by such gestures we are able to raise the awareness of the signs and symptoms of Thrombosis to a much wider audience.

So from a dodgy old cricketer, who every year gets better averages, and more runs (than he actually ever did) I thank you for your kind and continuing support.

thumb_IMG_3357_1024Rory Kleinveldt 02Richard Levi 02Kyle Coetzer