YOUNG cricketers offered their help to heroes with a season opener to aid ex-servicemen on a road to recovery.
The Help for Heroes players were bowled over by the welcome they received at Barnard Castle School where two matches were organised against students, staff and Old Barnardians.
The first 16 over match saw a diplomatic draw secured on the final ball of the game against some servicemen who had made an almost 700-mile round trip to play.
The Help for Heroes cricket team plays fixtures all over the country as an integral part of their recovery from physical and psychological injuries sustained serving the country.
Staff and Barney Friends helped create a carnival atmosphere for the day with hospitality food and drink tents designed to raise funds for the charity.
Headmaster Tony Jackson said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to host this opening match of the season and the draw with our boys was a fair result.
“We are blessed with grounds that I’m convinced have a therapeutic benefit and we all had a great day of cricket. We strive constantly to imbue in our students the need for empathy and a caring nature and with our strong military heritage we were thrilled to be able to help.”
Help for Heroes ambassador Barrie Griffiths said the ex-servicemen played 15 matches a year as part of a recovery programme designed to help them overcome their injuries and integrate successfully back into civilian life.
Cricket was also such a social event that it meant they could involve their families, a major goal of the charity, he added.
“The fantastic welcome we received at this beautiful and prestigious school, which has such strong links with the military, has been second to none,” he said. “Our players – from army, air force and navy backgrounds – have thoroughly enjoyed two very competitive games.
“Many of the lads’ injuries are not clearly visible and can’t be spotted from the sidelines. Some are psychological, others physical and we try and get the guys together at least every six weeks. The sense of camaraderie and spirit reinvigorates them and you see such a difference in the guys.”