Late last year, with Christmas approaching, all at Sefton Park CC were devastated at the news that our team mate and friend Alex Miller had taken his own life. A lively and competitive character, it still doesn’t seem right that we’ll be taking to the field without him this year. His love for cricket was contagious. As both a club and as individuals, we are much the poorer for his absence.
The club itself has set in process things to be done that provide a way to remember Alex not just now, but into the future; his example of hard work and commitment too inspiring to be neglected. After a period of reflection and discussion, a group of us came together to work out how we could extend our remembrance. Mention was made of a few different charities and projects, all worthy in their own special ways, but a consensus quickly emerged regarding CALM. A charity focused on encouraging men to be open about their problems, to talk to each other and prevent further instances of young men thinking there is no way out. The focus on youth, a demographic broadly represented at our club, as well as the links to sport and the dynamic website along with innovative other communication methods seemed a perfect fit. Seeing that CALM has started off in our city of Liverpool was further vindication.
Aims for such a partnership this season are focused on two things. Firstly, we want to raise a sizeable amount of money to support the work that CALM does. Funding the helpline, media projects and all the other tasks is something of huge importance. The costs involved in keeping things running would surprise most, and after talking to Simon, CALM’s man on Merseyside, I was even more aware of how tough it can be to attract funds in the present day. Alongside the fundraising aspect there is a desire to spread awareness. Not just of the charity, but of the themes surrounding it. Too many people, young men especially, suffer without the help of others and this can easily spiral out of control. If we can do something towards changing this mind set, showing that opening up isn’t a weakness but necessary to live more happily, we would feel like we had achieved something really important.
There are lots of ideas and events to be organised. The two that were straight in the diary have already had the early work put in. A group of fifteen players will be running the Liverpool half marathon on Sunday 17th March and with the run passing our lower ground there’s a gimmick or two planned. For a centrepiece of the summer we have a cricket match in honour of Alex on Sunday 23rd June. Special guests, hospitality packages and a range of superb prizes donated for raffle and auction are just some of the ideas planned.
The work isn’t just confined to our cricket club. Others have already stepped forward and offered support. Alex’s former club Aigburth CC have plans to host a quiz night for the benefit of CALM, after hosting a Sefton XI in tribute. My intention is to link up with other clubs to spread awareness of the charity and all it does. From something so tragic, it is possible to see now a chance to create something positive.