As the major sponsor of the Prospect District Cricket Club, a significant part of my sponsorship agreement is to have one event throughout the season to raise awareness not only of District Grade Cricket, but worthy charities. The club agreed that the best format of cricket for me to promote these charities and run such an event would be the Twenty/20 (T20) match held early in January.
Two charities were selected, an easy choice for the inaugural match. BeyondBlue and the South Australian Cricket Association(SACA) have a strong alliance and as a retiree from professional sport, this resonated with me. The support BeyondBlue gives to not only athletes who struggle with the pressure, injury or having to step down and retire from high level competition, but those that are struggling to over come depression just in general society. This worthy society also played a huge role in supporting our players, coaches and members that were extremely close to Phillip Hughes who was tragically killed whilst playing shield cricket. The other charity we chose for this inaugural year was Arthritis SA. This is a charity that receives very little Federal Government support and relies on fundraisers and donations to help those impacted by one of the most prolific and debilitating diseases here in Australia. Both these charities work in synchronicity with arthritis 97% of the time resulting in severe depression of the person affected.
As a former president of the Lipson Agricultural Show, I decided the best way to get community involved was to provide an event that would impact minimally on family budgets, be run during school holidays to maximise family engagement and the event would follow just after Christmas. Such an initiative had never been attempted in Grade Cricket and it was doubted regardless of what I did we would not draw a crowd and get the community support.
So I drew upon my motherly knowledge of children and how bored they get in school holidays and planned ways that would not cost/minimal cost to parents to attract them to come and watch the game. Tuesday the 13th of January 2015 was the date set for the T20 match to be held at Prospect Oval between the Prospect Pirates and Woodville Peckers, play beginning at 4:30pm (gates opened at 3:30pm- close at 9pm). Immediately the afternoon/evening was themed Pirates and the Ocean to encourage all that came to get into the spirit of the game. I provided the following activities, entertainment and giveaways for the entirety of the afternoon/evening at my expense:
- Free bouncy castles (x2) for all children
- Free face painters (x2)
- Monster Truck on display
- Best dressed competitions (free entry) with the pirate and ocean theme for each gender and following age groups: under 5 years, 6-10 years, 11-15 years, 15-18 years, over 18 years, best dressed family and best dressed crew of 6. Prizes 1st to 3rd for each category and some special mention prizes for the Tiny Tots that did not place.
- Mid game entertainment whereby all children were invited to partake in a pirate treasure race around the grounds and once the treasure was discovered (18kg of lollies in a treasure chest) the united crew of children could then share in the treasure.
- Information brochures and flyers from myself of the free no obligation service I provide as a real estate agent and service to the community and also information from Beyond Blue.
- Man of the Match with sash and prizes.
- VIP room with complimentary food and beverages for all distinguished guests, SACA board members, Prospect Mayor and local, state and federal MP’s, Prospect and Woodville District Cricket Clubs Life members, sponsors and LJ Hooker Walkerville staff.
- Security staff to patrol both family friendly and licenced drinking areas.
The afternoons atmosphere was boosted by having live commentary and the Adelaide Strikers DJ, Matty Burgess (volunteered), playing throughout the match. With no obligation, the general public on entry to the grounds could make a gold coin donation for both charities and enter in a brilliant raffle with prizes donated from several local businesses amounting to the value of $2500.
Several radio stations and social media sites all voluntary supported with advertising the event for the fortnight leading up. Despite the positive and outstanding response, Mother Nature did not play fair and we received significant rain the day before and morning of. With scattered showers, we continued with the event, but the weather deterred the large crowd we were anticipating. We still set a crowd record for a T20 Grade Cricket match with just over 550 people entering the gates (excluding volunteers, vendors, members, officials and players).
Why did I do this? There are two simple responses.
1. To illustrate to the general public that I not only genuinely want to help charities that are close to my heart, but allow them to see that I am not all about the sales, taking money from clients and not putting back into community. I want the public to see that I am a real estate role model raising awareness of significant social and health issues, bringing community together to enjoy quality family time, raise awareness of SACA Grade Cricket and most importantly I am a genuine person who wants to serve the community in a professional real estate manner.
2. Most importantly, be the ultimate role model mother to my two beautiful girls. With significant success in my first year of real estate I wanted my girls to see that it is important to give back to the community that supports you and for them to be proud of not only what I achieved, but as conducting myself in a professional, morally positive and ethical manner.
Due to the amazing public and professional response, the Rachel Lawrie LJ Hooker Walkerville T20 Match will be run again. Both cricket clubs have persuaded SACA that this needs to be a reoccurring clash between the two clubs in every years January T20 fixture from now on, which SACA are in full support of. We have numerous celebrities who are now volunteering to help on the day, as well as local community groups, councils and MP’s. Additionally the feedback has not only resulted in the second match being scheduled, but the community loved that they were able to attend an event with very little cost to them and gain an understanding of grass roots cricket and most importantly learn and help two very worthy charities.