English cricket legend Alec Stewart has lent his support to hospices throughout the UK this week, in his role as Clydesdale Bank ambassador. The former captain of the England cricket team has launched Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks' cricket ticket giveaway for hospices across the country, ahead of the new Clydesdale Bank 40 (CB40) season.
Five hundred tickets for this summer's CB40 cricket matches have been donated to local hospices throughout the country by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, as part of their longstanding partnership with Help the Hospices, the leading charity supporting hospice care in the UK.
Hospices will use the tickets to provide rare days out for patients and their families, as rewards for dedicated volunteers, and as prizes for auctions and raffles to bring in vital funds towards their services.
Alec Stewart, who is listed as the most capped England cricketer of all time in Test matches, officially launched the initiative at Keech Hospice, St Albans.
"As the CB40 season is set to launch, cricket is also coming home this summer for hundreds of hospice patients, volunteers and supporters who can look forward to a free live cricket match thanks to the CB40 cricket ticket giveaway.
"The initiative is part of the partnership between the banks and Help the Hospices and I'm delighted to launch a programme that makes a difference to hospices which provide such excellent care to patients and their families."
Mike Palfreman, director of fundraising at Help the Hospices, said:
"An important principle of hospice care is that the small, personal things can make a big difference to people's quality of life. Enjoying a summer's day at the cricket, for example, could mean the world to someone with a terminal or life-limiting illness and their family, so we are delighted to give hospices the opportunity to help people make the most of every day.
"As local charities rooted in the communities they serve, hospices will also be able to use their free CB40 tickets as rewards for their dedicated volunteers and supporters, without whom they could not provide the best possible care to adults and children with life-limiting illnesses in their community."
Hospices in the UK must raise £1 million every day just to keep going, and rely on the support of more than 100,000 volunteers.
Clydesdale Bank 40 is the newest domestic one-day competition, entering its second campaign this summer. It runs from April 24, culminating in a final at Lord's on September 17.
As well as the 18 first class counties, Scotland, Netherlands and the Unicorns (a team of players without first class contracts) are competing.
Jacqui Atkinson, community relations manager at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks said:
"Our employees have raised more than £1.5 million for hospice care over the last three years, but it is also important to us to support local hospices in other ways. The CB40 tickets are a way of giving hospice patients, volunteers and supporters quality time this summer, with the games providing a fun afternoon out for the whole family."