An NHS themed cricket bat, designed by the son of an NHS worker as part of a competition, has helped to raise more than £1,200 for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Charitable Fund.
Cricket fanatic Ollie Warner, entered the Junior Bat Designer competition, run by cricket equipment company Gray Nicolls, after his dad Glen spotted it online while downloading posters for Ollie to colour in and display in the front window of their home near Tonbridge in support of the NHS.
Ollie came up with the NHS rainbow design in honour of his mum, Helen Warner—an oncology secretary who works in the Kent Oncology Centre based at Maidstone Hospital—and her colleagues who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Little did the youngster know that his artwork would not only ‘bowl’ over the panel of judges but also result in over 35,000 likes across their social media platforms when his design was unveiled to the public — with comments and shares from current England and international cricket players.
As well as presenting Ollie with his own personalised cricket bat, Gray Nicolls also made a limited run of 20 NHS Heroes cricket bats featuring Ollie’s design, with all proceeds from the sales going to NHS Charities Together. The bat was more of a hit than expected, with it completely selling out in less than six minutes and sales topping over £3,000.
Cowdrey Cricket Club in Tonbridge, which Ollie plays for, were lucky enough to secure one of the limited-edition bats and decided to raffle the bat off with all proceeds going to a local charity. Knowing Ollie’s mum works for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, the amount raised, which totalled £1,250, was donated to the Trust’s dedicated charity to help fund items for the oncology centre.
Darren Apps, Chairman of Cowdrey Cricket Club, and Ollie, recently presented the cheque to Charlotte Wadey, Divisional Director of Nursing and Quality Cancer Services, outside the centre. Ollie also brought his bat along with him on the day to show Charlotte too.
Ollie, aged eight, said: “I really enjoyed entering the competition and it was very special to have my design made into an actual bat. I couldn’t believe that all my heroes like Sam Billings, Zak Crawley, Jimmy Anderson and Chris Woakes commented on my design. I hope that one day when Covid is over that I can meet them and they can sign my bat.”
Mr Apps said: “As a club we are extremely grateful for the superb job everyone at the NHS has done over the past 18 months and if this small token can have a positive impact on one person’s life then we will be very happy.
“We are very proud of Ollie. The design is superb, it’s captured the moment and I know he is the envy of a lot of our junior players as it isn’t every day that you get to play with a unique bat you’ve designed.”
Charlotte added: “It was lovely to meet Ollie and see his design, which is fantastic.
“We are extremely grateful to Cowdrey Cricket Club who very kindly decided to raffle the bat off to help raise funds for the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Charitable Fund. On behalf of everyone at MTW, thank you for your support. I know your generosity means a lot to our staff and patients.”