Big name cricketers past and present donate lots for on-line charity auction

Mustafa Shaikh displaying some of the items donated for the on-line charity auction

By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE

A FORMER teacher from Devon has enlisted Somerset’s international trio Jack Leach, Craig Overton and Babar Azam to help him raise money for two charities.

Mustafa Shaikh was head of global studies at South Dartmoor College in Ashburton for seven years before departing in 2017 for a job at an international school near Delhi. 

An on-line auction goes live this Saturday with lots including cricket bats, shirts and souvenirs from stars past and present up for grabs.

Pakistan captain Azam has donated one of his Somerset shirts while England duo Leach and Overton have contributed a autographed bat and a signed England shirt respectively.Mustafa with grandson Freddie

More than 25 lots will feature in the on-line catalogue, including donations from England cricketer Jos Buttler and Somerset captain Tom Abell.

The aim of the auction is to raise money for two organisations that stood by Mustafa and his family during a crisis almost a year ago: the Plymouth Hospitals Charity and the Cornwall Cricket Trust.

Daughter Lydia and son-in-law Chris, who live in Plymstock, presented Mustafa with a grandson last December. But Freddie’s arrival was far from smooth as he was born 15 weeks prematurely.

Mustafa said he and his family owe a debt of gratitude to the hospital staff in Plymouth for the support and care they provided while Freddie was in their care. And Mustafa is also hugely grateful to colleagues at his current job with the Cornwall Cricket Board for their backing when the going got tough.

The fund-raising auction is Mustafa’s way of saying ‘thank-you’ for everyone’s support during a tough time.

“I wanted to say a huge thanks to the Plymouth Hospital (Derriford) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team, but in particular the Keep Me Close charity that provided such wonderful care and support to my family to be near Freddie at such a crucial time in his life,” said Mustafa.

“As a way of showing my appreciation to my colleagues at Cornwall Cricket for helping me through this period, and also knowing cricket everywhere in the county had taken a hit from the Covid pandemic and that the future of the game in some communities maybe challenging next year, I felt I needed to do something to help safeguard the beautiful game.

“I came up with the idea of an on-line auction combining my love of family and my passion for cricket in collaboration with Cornwall Cricket Trust and the Plymouth Hospital Charity to raise money to celebrate Freddie’s first birthday on December 8.

“Freddie is thriving but still receiving treatment from Great Ormond Street Hospital to help develop mobility in his upper arm due to nerve damage.”

Mustafa has been a cricket nut since his schooldays in Wolverhampton nearly 50 years ago when he was a Saturday afternoon scoreboard operator at his local club.

Having enjoyed a long career as a player, then coaching at club, county youth and school level in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, Mustafa put his contacts to good use collecting auction lots.

“I have been truly overwhelmed by the donations from players, family, friends and businesses – the list of some wonderful items received is simply amazing,” said Mustafa.”

The chance to become assistant head of King’s College International in Delhi in 2017, and head of geography and cricket, lured Mustafa away from South Dartmoor College. The college cricket team he coached to the South West Championship that summer went on to become national champions after he left for India.

Family reasons forced Mustafa to return to the UK after a year. He landed a job with the Cornwall Cricket Board as cricket centre manager and club development manager based at Truro College.

The auction opens this Saturday (November 28) at 7pm on the Cornwall Cricket Trust website. If anyone wants to make a donation to the Plymouth Hospital Charity fund instead of bidding in the auction they should visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gulam-shaikh