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Martyn Hill raises funds for Farndon Cricket Club and Shaw Mind in incredible sunrise to sunset bat-a-thon effort

After spending more than 12 hours at the crease, Martyn Hill has raised more than £2,400 for Farndon Cricket Club and mental health and wellbeing charity, Shaw Mind.

The 30-year-old, who took on the sunrise to sunset bat-a-thon from 4.43am until 9.21pm on Saturday, faced 2,557 balls — the equivalent of four one-day games or ten T20 matches.

Martyn Hill (37075807)
Martyn Hill (37075807)

Hill, who is a Chance to Shine schools officer and junior Outlaws coach at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, said the idea for the fundraiser followed the reopening of nets.

He said he wanted to show the benefits playing sport could have on men’s mental health, while giving the juniors at Farndon a chance to showcase their skills.

“When the regulations got lifted and net facilities were allowed to be used it was a real relief to me,” said Hill.

“I started doing one-on-one sessions with the juniors and you could tell there was that relief for them as well.

“They didn’t know if they were going to be playing any cricket at all this year, so to be back playing was great.”

Tom and Martyn Hill during the final ball of the day (37075805)
Tom and Martyn Hill during the final ball of the day (37075805)

Farndon, like most clubs, rely heavily on the funds made from the bar and through the community to continue its coaching services.

“I really wanted to do something to make up for the lack of funding we were facing,” he said.

“Back in May, when it was really nice, we would usually have been coaching and making a bit of money for the club.

“Not only that, but it also related well to Shaw Mind because cricket has always been a therapy for me, and it has taken my mind off things and allowed me to relax.

“With mental health issues on the rise, especially during lockdown and especially with men, I wanted to promote the fact that sport can help you.”

Hill, who has been a member of Farndon CC since he was 11, said he found solace in the game and its community during some difficult periods.

He set out to raise at least £2,000 during the challenge, which saw him face balls from all age groups at the club, as well as rivals from other clubs in the county.

“People were down here specialising for the first time in a while and enjoying themselves,” he said.

As a passionate coach, he also wanted to promote the talents of the junior players.

“We had 14 juniors on the day and some of our county lads batted on the day when I went for food, which was good for them in terms of getting the experience and exposure,” Hill said.

In total, he was bowled and caught behind 29 times, which he said was a good feat.

The challenge proved to be physical taxing as the bowlers, who all donated to bowl, wanted to top the leaderboard.

And it was Matt Trueblood who took the record for the most balls bowled during the event, with 106 during his 20-minute slot.

Mark Everington, chairman of Farndon Cricket Club, said: “As a club we are extremely proud of Martyn for his efforts at the bat-a-thon.

“With everything happening in the country at the moment it is important to have positive things to focus on.

“The event enabled the local community to come together and put a smile on lots of faces, whilst also raising money for worthy causes.

“While Martyn deserves our gratitude for his efforts, our thanks must also go to the other members of the bat-a-thon team who helped organise such a successful and memorable day.

“I imagine this event will be talked about for years to come.

“We are extremely grateful that even at a time when no cricket is possible, we still have people willing to make the effort to keep the club as an integral part of the local community.”

Peter Wingrove, operations director at Shaw Mind, said: “What an outstanding effort. Team activities, particularly sports, are a great way for people to support one another when it comes to mental health and wellbeing and Martyn has highlighted that perfectly with this event.

“He’s raised a great deal for us and his club and we couldn’t be more grateful.

“The funds raised will go towards our community outreach work, particularly mental health training for teachers at local schools.”

Donations are still being accepted until Friday, July 10.

To donate visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sunrise-to-sunset-batathon

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