'Mumbai and back': Wem cricketers smash fundraising target to boost NHS

After doubling its initial target, Wem Cricket Club has smashed an 8,000-mile challenge, as members raise money for NHS and to install a defibrillator on site.

From left, Kate Williams, Gina Ellis, Shaun Ashley (middle back), Chloe Green (middle front), Sam Richmond and Ben Peel
From left, Kate Williams, Gina Ellis, Shaun Ashley (middle back), Chloe Green (middle front), Sam Richmond and Ben Peel

The club initially set out to run, walk or cycle 4,000 miles – the distance from here to Mumbai, as a way of raising funds. However, by day eight, the 81 members who took part were coming close to the target so decided to double it.

Professional player Jay Bista, who plays for Mumbai, was due to visit Wem this April but the meeting was postponed due to coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown.

The challenge finished on June 20, covering 8,020 miles in the 20 days. Gina Ellis, a member of the club said it was a massive achievement and they raised so much more than they were expecting.

"We started off and I didn't know how many people would want to take part, because we have different age groups, from the juniors to women's and men's team," she said.

"We originally started out to do 4,000 miles, to travel to India. But by day eight, we were nearly there so we thought let's travel back. So we did 8,000 miles in 20 days.

"Our original aim was to raise £2,000 but we managed to get £4,000.

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"£1,500 has been donated to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the rest we used to buy the defibrillator. There is a little left over, which we are keeping in case we need to get new pads for the defibrillator and things.

"We are putting it at the cricket club because the club is located on the other side of the railway crossing and sometimes the crossing can be down for ages so we wanted there to be one on either side if people needed it. Also the amount of people who come to the club and use it, it just seemed a good idea."

Gina said the community effort was brilliant and the club has a variety of members so it was great to see everyone get involved.

"To get the miles up, the majority did cycling, and all took their own routes," she added.

"Quite a few of the lads who play for the first team for cricket went out together and myself and a few of the ladies went out a couple of evenings as well.

"Everyone did different routes around Wem and the surrounding areas. Our treasurer, Chris Mellings, was cycling over 50 miles on his bike, it was a great effort."

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