Botham in the Limelight in Sri Lanka … meaningfully

Rex Clementine, in Sunday Island, 27 October 2013, with title “ Consider Botham for a State Award”

Sir Ian Botham announcing his walk during a media briefing in  Colombo.

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. The Ashes hero will be in Sri Lanka next week walking from  Mankulam to Seenigama on a nine-day journey during which he will help raise  funds to uplift the living standards of the poor and needy. While several Sri  Lankan cricket stars are scheduled to join Sir Ian in his effort, Sourav Ganguly,  Shane Warne, Michael Vaughan and rugby legend Morne du Plessis are also  scheduled to take part. The funds generated will be directed to the Foundation of  Goodness that has a charity running up at Seenigama which is about to establish  another in Mankulam. How much funds he will raise, Sir Ian is not quite sure. “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,” Sir Ian said recently during a media briefing. Sir Ian’s latest walk was  in April for Leukemia Research and it raised a total of 1,600,000 British Pound.

“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. “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.”

Botham has been a prodigious fundraiser for charitable causes  and so far has done 12 long-distance charity walks. His first walk was  undertaken while still he was active as a player. His efforts were inspired  whilst receiving treatment for a broken toe. In a Taunton hospital, Botham took  a wrong turn into a children’s ward and he was devastated to learn that some of  the children had only weeks to live. Since then, his efforts have raised more  than 12 million Pounds for charity with most of them going for Leukemia  Research.

“They were playing board games and looked pretty lively to me –  so I was absolutely stunned when a doctor explained they were unlikely to  survive,” Botham recalled. “I felt so helpless, yet I couldn’t get these children out of my  mind. I really wanted to do something for them. I’ve always been a keen walker  and, because so much money is needed for research, I knew I could raise a  considerable amount by drumming up sponsorship for walks

Botham’s magnanimous gesture is an example for other sportsmen  to come forward and join charity initiatives. Sportsmen with their popularity  can do a lot for charities. As for Sri Lankans, they will show their appreciation to the  great all-rounder during his walks that will pass several leading cricket  centers. As for the Sri Lanka state, it can recognise Botham’s  magnanimous contribution by handing him one of the three State Honours given for  foreigners. Whilst the Walk will raise funds, it will also give the country a  lot of positive media exposure.

ALSO See Sarah Botham: “Island Adventure…”

NOTA BENE: Sir Ian Botham’s Big Sri Lanka walk will also commence on the 1st of November which is the first day of the Murali Cup. proceeds from the walk will also go towards the Foundation of Goodness.  Here are some helpful links.

Beefy;s Big Sri Lanka walk website:
Murali Harmony Cup website:

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  1. Pingback: Ian Botham praises Sri Lanka as Tourist Destination | Thuppahi's Blog

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