School cricket match raises £35,000 for Rwanda Aid

A celebrity cricket match at Tonbridge School to support Rwanda Aid has raised more than £35,000.

The funds are going towards one of the charity’s latest projects, the Alivera Centre. Named after a young girl who lost her life to epilepsy and neglect, the new centre will assist young people with disabilities and help these children access education and training. 

Stars including Sir Ian Botham, Keane frontman Tom Chaplin, TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing’s Chris Hollins and former England rugby player Rob Andrew were among those taking part in the event on Friday 24 May.

They were joined by England’s chief national cricket selector Ed Smith, and former Test cricket players Gladstone Small, Rob Key, Paul Parker and Andy Whittall (who is also Director of the school’s Tonbridge Society). 

In an entertaining T20 contest, which was well attended by the public, the Sir Ian Botham XI narrowly defeated the Rwanda Aid XI. The match was played on the school’s first XI cricket pitch, known as The Head.

David Chaplin OBE, Chief Executive Officer for Rwanda Aid, said the event had been a huge success. “Thanks to the wonderful generosity of everyone who came to our cricketing fundraiser at Tonbridge, work on our Alivera Centre can now begin. We work closely with the local community, identifying the most pressing problems, and this new development is a major step forward. Helping the disadvantaged and disabled is central to the charity’s work.”

The fundraising on the day was further boosted by a lunch, a raffle and an auction, which included prizes such as a flight in a Tiger Moth, platinum tickets for a Keane concert, and a round of golf at Sunningdale with Sir Ian Botham.  

Regional news programme BBC South East Today attended the event and ran a live broadcast for its evening show.

Rwanda Aid works in the Western province of Rwanda, one of the poorest regions in the country. Its mission is to relieve poverty by supporting effective education and opportunity for enterprise. 

The event was sponsored by wealth management firm JM Finn and supported by local firm Bourne Amenity.

Pictured below, from top:

Team line-ups;

A light-hearted 'question and answer' session featuring Chris Hollins, Ed Smith, Sir Ian Botham, Rob Key, Gladstone Small and Rob Andrew;

The school's Headmaster James Priory with former Tonbridge pupil Tom Chaplin;

National cricket selector Ed Smith with young fans;

Former Kent skipper Rob Key at the crease;

Rob Andrew departs the field.