Gareth Johnson’s annual Charity Cricket Game at Hesketh Park, home to Dartford Cricket Club, took place on Sunday 30th June 2013 and saw Gareth Johnson’s XI team play Dartford Cricket Club.
The main cricket game was preceded by youth cricket matches featuring local cricket teams, and guests were also entertained with performances from a number of local groups and schools.
The proceeds will be split between a youth cricket programme run by Dartford Cricket Club, and the Arrow Riding Centre for the Disabled, which provides riding lessons to disabled children aged 17 months and upwards.
Gareth Johnson said:
“I was delighted that we successfully raised thousands of pounds for such valuable local charities. Local people really pulled together to make this event a success with hundreds of people turning out to support the occasion and making the day a fun, family event. Part of being an MP is supporting local organisations like the Arrow Riding School and it was pleasing that local businesses helped to make the day a success.”
Commenting on the match, Robert Goodman, Bluewater’s General Manager, said: “We are proud to be supporting the charity cricket match for the third year running. This is an important event that raises a significant amount of money for Arrow Riding School and Dartford Cricket Club’s youth cricket programme. The growth in the number of people attending is also a testament to how popular an annual local event it has become. We are already looking forward to next year which, judging from this year’s performance, could well see Gareth’s team taking their maiden victory.”
Jim Lowrie, of Dartford Cricket Club, said ‘As a club we are always striving to enhance our position in the local community so it was an absolute privilege to see The Park so full all day with people of all ages enjoying the weather, the cricket and the various attractions, a fabulous day all round.’
The game ended in a narrow victory in the final over for Dartford Cricket Club. They had posted a score of 158 which Gareth Johnson’s XI came within seven runs of matching.
The charity event also featured a number of other attractions which, combined with the good fortune of sunshine, helped to increase the money raised. Stalls included jewellery, beauty, ice cream, books and food and drink- with many of those donating proceeds to the charity pot. There was also a raffle, a childrens’ cupcake decorating competition, and an inflatable bouncy castle and slide.
The event raised £3805 on the day, with Sainburys also presenting a separate £2500 cheque to the Arrow Riding School on the day.
The full line up for Gareth’s team was: Min Patel (ex-England cricketer), Aaron Bardoe (local councillor), Eddie Lampkin (local councillor), Nick Thornton (Bluewater Senior Manager), Tim MacFarlan (News Shopper journalist), Jatinder Sokhal (local lawyer), Leon Stewart (local lawyer), Kulvinder Sokhal (local dentist), and Kuldeep Dhanda.
Supporting organisations included Bluewater, Sainsbury’s (Dartford), McDonald’s (Dartford & Greenhithe) and around twenty smaller local companies.
The groups providing entertainment during the event were:
12.30pm Fleetdown School Signing Choir – The signing choir is made up of 30 hearing children who give up their lunch times twice a week to practise various songs in sign language. The children love to perform for the local community and for the general public. They have previously performed at Wembley Arena and St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden.
12.45pm Sapphire Dance and Drama Academy – Students have performed as far away as Majorca. They and other dancers at the school also appeared recently in “An Evening with the Stars of Strictly Come Dancing” alongside Pasha Kovalev and Katya Virshillas. Over the last few years, students have been selected to supplement their training at The Royal Ballet School and Central and were accepted on Summer Schools at White Lodge and with the National Youth Ballet.
2.30pm Elements Gymnastics – based in Shepherds Lane and opened in 2011 this gymnastics club this club offers gymnastics to boys and girls aged 4 and over. It also offers classes specifically for those with disabilities.
Gareth scored 36 runs and took two wickets.