April 29, 2014
Legendary cricketer Sir Ian Botham has found a novel way of securing his sporting legacy for years to come… and all it took was a shovel, some seeds and a watering can.
The Laureus Academy Member was at Easton Grange, home to many of Britain’s highest quality willow trees, to plant some of his very own as he launched the “Laureus Cricket Bats for Good” initiative.
Sir Ian said: “I’ve been involved in cricket for most of my life but this will be the first time I have ever planted willow trees. This is a great idea and hopefully they will help a new generation of cricket stars in the years to come.
But it’s not just cricket players who will benefit from the products of the trees.
When the wood is fully matured (which won’t be for another 20 years) the bats will be sold to raise funds for the Laureus-supported Foundation of Goodness cricket project in Sri Lanka.
The project is one close to the cricketer’s heart.
Widely acknowledged as the greatest cricketing all-rounder of all time, Sir Ian is now hugely respected for his charity walks. Last November he undertook one of his toughest yet by walking 160 miles across Sri Lanka, all in support of the Foundation of Goodness.
Suffering blisters, severe heat and up to 90% humidity, the challenge was immense. Luckily he had a number of cricketing friends to help him along the way including former Australia captains Steve Waugh and Alan Border.
Sir Ian added: “Sri Lanka is a country that has had many problems to cope with and I am delighted to do what I can to help. Funds raised from the Walk will go to help the two Foundation of Goodness projects and the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.”
The trees planted by Sir Ian will be used to produce 20 unique, limited edition cricket bats. The option to receive one of these collector’s items will be auctioned to raise money for the charity. One of the 20 “future bats” was auctioned in Sir Ian’s presence on the day at Easton Grange with the other 19 to be released at various intervals over the coming years.