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West Indies back Support for Life programme

CRICKET, LOVELY, CRICKET: (from left to right): Lord Newby, founder and patron, Sport for Life! With Darren Sammy, Fidel Edwards, Ottis Gibson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kemar Roach, Kirk Edwards and Richie Richardson (Photo Credit: Simon Williams photography)

PRIOR TO Thursday’s (May 17) first Test against England at Lords, several members of the touring West Indies party gave their endorsement of the Support for Life! programme.

Support for Life! (SPL) uses the power of sport to inspire children and young people who need personal development support outside school to make a success of their lives.

It combines sport, education and healthy lifestyle training in a structured programme delivered by qualified teachers and coaches.

The programme is based at the principal sports stadiums in the countries where it operates, with outreach to local schools and communities. It targets children from poorer backgrounds who are underperforming at school.

SFL currently runs for 38 weeks a year in Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK and Pakistan.

It is based in SFL learning centres, complete with I.T, established by Sport for Life! at international cricket grounds in those countries.

The programme has the backing of the local communities, cricket authorities and governments in each country and comprises five elements - maths, English, I.T, healthy lifestyle training and cricket.

PALS: Sammy with the Voice of Sport editor, Rodney Hinds (right)

The England and Wales Cricket Board helped in 2009 by providing kit and player appearances and together with the International Cricket Council and West Indies Cricket Board are committed long term supporters.

In attendance at Lords were West Indies coach Ottis Gibson, team manager Richie Richardson, captain Darren Sammy, batting legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, all-rounder Kirk Edwards and fast bowlers Kemar Roach and Fidel Edwards.

Sammy said: “Cricket was a way out for me so I am more than happy to back this programme.”

Gibson added: “I did not come from a privileged background but cricket gave me the opportunity to be where I am today, so I will always support campaigns like this.”

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