Sussex batsman and T20 captain Luke Wright paid a visit to Buckingham Park Primary School in Shoreham-by-Sea on Wednesday as part of a Chance to Shine roadshow delivered by Sussex Cricket Foundation.
More than 90 boys and girls aged from 7 to 11 listened to Luke talk about his journey from first picking up a cricket bat through to playing for Sussex and England, before being given the opportunity to ask him questions about his career.
Later, pupils from years five and six joined Luke in the playground for a series of cricket drills.
The visit was one of over 80 Chance to Shine roadshows that Sussex Cricket Foundation (SCF) will deliver in primary schools this year. Thanks to Chance to Shine funding, SCF are also delivering 104 full cricket programmes in Sussex primary schools that see pupils take part in weekly sessions. The aim is to let schoolchildren from Year 1 all the way to Year 6 to experience cricket, inspire them to be excited about the game and let them know how they can carry on playing in their communities.
After his visit, Luke said: “I really enjoyed my visit to Buckingham Park. It was great to speak to the boys and girls, answer their excellent questions and play a bit of cricket with them in the playground.
“The Chance to Shine programme that the Sussex Cricket Foundation runs in primary schools around the county is so important when it comes to introducing the game to children in Sussex.
“After the summer of cricket we’ve had here in England, hopefully we can inspire more children than ever to carry on playing the game after these visits.
“Whether they end up playing club cricket or going onto represent England, I’d love it if today’s visit was the start of a lifetime of enjoying the game for as many of the boys and girls as possible. As I said to the kids, with persistence anything is possible!”
Sarah Thomas, a class teacher at Buckingham Park Primary, added: “Meeting a real sports star is always an exciting experience and this was no exception. The children were thrilled to meet a player who has reached the echelons of actually playing for England. Listening to his journey of hard work in order to reach his goal was inspirational and the children chatted with great enthusiasm afterwards.
“We are always looking to motivate our pupils to aim high and work hard. Our links with Sussex Cricket have been strengthened further and we were extremely grateful that a player of such a high level was willing to share his experiences to encourage our children.”
Gary Wallis-Tayler, Sussex Cricket Foundation’s south area territory manager & Chance to Shine lead, added: “The funding received from Chance to Shine allows us to deliver fun, engaging programmes in state primary schools to inspire the next generation of boy & girl cricketers.
“By using Sussex’s professional players to visit local primary schools to share their experiences and get involved in a session it helps create a lifelong memory and a passion for cricket.”