Rex Clementine, in the Island, 16 August 2013
No Ashes contest passes by without the memory of Sir Ian Botham. About to be sacked as captain in 1981, Botham stepped down as England skipper in humiliation after collecting a pair in the Lord’s Test with England trailing 1-0. What happened afterwards is history as playing under Mike Brearly, Botham won England the Ashes singlehandedly 3-1. Knighted in 2007, Sir Ian has stepped up to support several charitable activities including his walks across Europe for Leukemia Research. Yesterday Sir Ian announced his latest walk from Killinochchi in the North to Seenigama in the South over eight days to support the Sri Lankan youth.
Sir Ian told the media yesterday: “It’s the toughest thing that I have agreed to do. It’s going to be 40 degrees out there. But it’s for a great cause. When I came here soon after the tsunami I was devastated. I have also seen what people have lost in the north due to the war and these things moved me to do something. It’s a tough schedule to keep up, but I am determined. Nothing is going to stop me from completing the Walk,” Sir Ian told journalists in Colombo yesterday.
Funds raised from the Walk called ‘Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk 2013’ will go to the Foundation of Goodness which promotes several charities in the north and south. The charity founded by philanthropist Kushil Gunasekara is supported by several leading Sri Lankan cricketers like Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vaas.
Asked how much money he hoped to raise through his walk past several cities and villages including some of the cricket centers like Dambulla and Kandy, Sir Ian said: “If we say one million, everyone will stop with one million. We will try to raise as much as we can. We are pretty good at highway robberies you know.
I have done several tough ones. There was one walk which was 1,000 miles long. Then there was another one which was over the Alps. But, this is going to be the toughest. Everyone is welcomed to join the Walk. But if you do join us please do some training and come and be prepared.”
Sir Ian’s latest walk was in last April for Leukemia Research and it raised a total of 1,600,000 British Pound.
During each day of Sir Ian’s walk in Sri Lanka from November 1st to 9th, he will be joined by other cricket greats like Shane Warne, Michael Vaughan, Sourav Ganguly, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham said Thursday he has accepted his “daftest” challenge — walking hundreds of miles under Sri Lanka’s scorching sun to raise money for charity. Botham said he would walk nearly 375 miles (600 kilometres) from the former war zone in the island’s north to the southern home constituency of President Mahinda Rajapakse starting November 1. “It is the daftest thing I have agreed to do… it is going to be in temperatures of 40 degrees (Celsius, 104 Fahrenheit),” Botham told reporters in Colombo while announcing his fund-raising walk. “This is going to be the hardest walk. We have done 1,000-mile walks… walks in the Alps, but nothing like this… We will have a lot of rehydrating to do in the evenings.” Botham advised those planning to join him to bring “a lot of water, you will need it” when walking in the hot and humid conditions of tropical Sri Lanka. He said it will be the first of “Beefy’s Big Walks” to be held outside Britain and was intended to raise money for disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka and around the world. The Sri Lanka event will be his 15th charity walk since 1985 and he has so far raised over 13 million pounds ($20.1 million). Proceeds from the Sri Lanka walk will go to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which funds charitable activities in 34 countries. Botham was expected to be joined on the walk by other cricketing greats — Brian Lara of West Indies and India’s Saurav Ganguly and Kapil Dev. Botham said getting personally involved with highly publicised walks would help extract more cash from potential donors. “It is good to make appeals on television, but when they see you actually doing something, then they are likely to give more,” he said. The walk is due to end on November 8 at the southern town of Hambantota. Botham visited Sri Lanka soon after the December 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed more than 31,000 people 0n the island and devastated much of its coastline. In March 2011 he visited Sri Lanka’s northern region nearly two years after the end of a decades-old Tamil separatist war – See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/sport-online/item/20099-cricket-botham-braces-for-daftest-challenge.html#sthash.KWu9XMDU.dpuf