England’s Women players lead praises for UK’s First All Female Visually Impaired Cricket Team
A ground breaking cricket tour to Nepal by the UK’s first ever All Female Visually Impaired cricket team has received the praises of England cricketers, Charlotte Edwards and Jenny Gunn.
The UK’s first All Female Visually Impaired team was set up by Beth Evans, a Development Officer at The Change Foundation following on from a holiday to Nepal. Beth was so inspired by the work being done by the Nepal Cricket Association with Visually Impaired (VI) female cricket players, that she set about starting the UK’s first & only all female VI cricket team.
The aim of the UK team was to create a positive impact upon the lives of young women with a visual impairment by giving them independence, self-confidence and new friendships through playing cricket together. The team consisting of young women aged 13 to 25, trains regularly at the charity’s HQ in Wallington, Surrey.
England Women’s Captain, Charlotte Edwards, says, “This is a truly wonderful and historic occasion for all of the players involved and for women’s cricket in general. It’s fantastic to hear about all the positive work that The Change Foundation is currently doing to help develop playing opportunities for visually impaired women and girls”.
England’s Jenny Gunn and recent MBE, added: “The skills that the VI players can execute are absolutely amazing – it really is an inspirational environment to be a part of.
It’s brilliant news that this ground-breaking tour has been organised to Nepal for the UK’s first all-female VI cricket team. I’m sure that all of the players will learn and gain so much from the experience, and the tour represents a huge step in the development of cricket opportunities for women and girls with a disability.”
The team will be on tour from the 19th to the 29th October, playing 3 matches against their Nepalese counterparts. It will be the first time that the Nepal team will have played against a team from another country.
Beth (Evans) notes, “The courage of the team is blazing a trail for other disability female teams across all sports. It is important to realise the importance of female only teams, especially within disability sport which has very low levels of female participation. It is clear something needs to be done to inspire change”.
For some of the young women in the UK team this will be a life changing trip, as they will not have been too far away from their family and friends in the UK time let alone visiting another country.
Team member and Captain, Lois Turner, 17 years old, has become a role model within the team. Although one of the youngest in the team she also coaches, inspires and empowers other young people with a disability to get involved with sport. Lois excitedly says, “This tour is something that I have dreaming about for a long time it’s an opportunity of a life time. This trip is a big stepping stone for all of us as a team and as individuals. I’ve never been so excited about anything before in my whole life.”
The tour has kindly been supported by: England & Wales Cricket Board, The Brian Johnston Memorial Fund, The Primary Club, the READY charity, the VICTA charity and MetroVI Sports.
Beth Evans with some Nepal Female VI Cricketers on her trip in 2010