Four members of the Somerset squad were put through their paces at a special press conference recently as part of the fourth and final session of this year’s special education partnership with Selworthy School.
Selworthy School is a co-educational special school for children and young people with learning disabilities aged 4 to 19.
This session saw a number of students take part in the literacy element of the four-part programme at the Cooper Associates County Ground.
Learners and staff from the school were given a guided tour of the Ground and were shown all the behind the scenes elements that people don’t normally get to see.
The tour began in the Andrew Caddick Pavilion where they met some of the players and were shown around the dressing rooms and players gym.
The students were then treated to a demonstration of bat making at Millichamp and Hall before visiting the Media Centre in the Somerset Pavilion.
Students and staff then ate their lunch in a hospitality suite before taking on the role of journalists at a special press conference where they interviewed Paul van Meekeren, Eddie Byrom, George Bartlett and Tim Rouse.
The afternoon was then spent writing up a report of their day for the school paper before spending the remainder of the day chatting and relaxing with the players.
At the end of the day Upper School Lead, Chris Willcocks said: We’re extremely grateful to Somerset County Cricket Club for the fabulous day we had here today. Our learners have enjoyed themselves and there have been some brilliant opportunities that they might not have otherwise been given.
“The partnership between the Cricket Club and Selworthy is really important to our learners – long may it continue!”
Chris Palmer, one of learners who took part in the day said: “It’s been fantastic. We’ve had a lovely day. I enjoyed walking around and the players were pretty cool. It’s been a very good day.”
At the end of the day Eddie Byrom said: “It was really good to see the Selworthy children again and it was nice to be a part of their day. It was great to be able to see them come here and really enjoy themselves. Events like this really help to put things in to perspective.”
Tim Rouse also enjoyed the day. “It’s really important that we get involved with the community,” he said. “It was great that everyone seemed to have such a good time and it was really nice to see the children growing in confidence as the day went on.”
Paul van Meekeren, who has been a regular contributor to the Selworthy project, said: “It’s always good fun when we meet up with the kids from Selworthy. I saw a few familiar faces today which was nice and I really enjoy doing this kind of thing. It was nice to be able to talk with the teachers as well today because the bond that they have with these kids is remarkable.”
George Bartlett said: “The press conference was good fun and we enjoyed answering their questions. The afternoon session was really good as well because we got to know the boys and girls a bit better. It’s always good to meet new people and experience new things. It’s certainly a day that I’ll remember and hopefully we will see them again soon.”
Spencer Bishop, Somerset County Cricket Club’s Media & Community Executive, organised the day and was delighted by how it went. “Our partnership with Selworthy School is going from strength to strength,” he said. “The learners seemed to really enjoy themselves and the players certainly got a good grilling at the press conference!
“The key for me is that we are getting some really positive feed back from the teachers at Selworthy regarding how the scheme is having a positive effect on the learners who are involved. That was the entire reason for forming this partnership. We want to be able to positively impact the lives of these remarkable children.
“All the players who have taken an active role in the scheme have also taken a lot from it, so it really has been a win-win arrangement for all concerned.
“We will now speak with the school in the next few months to see how we can improve and build on what we have achieved so far.”