LEICESTER BUSINESSMAN VIC SETHI DISCUSSES THE LAUNCH OF MONTY PANESAR’S CHARITY, WHICH HAS BEEN SET UP TO RAISE CHILDREN OUT OF POVERTY
Legendary Cricketer Monty Panesar has recently launched his own charity, the Monty Panesar Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of deprived children at home in the UK, as well as in India and other Commonwealth countries. The idea first occurred to Monty during his time studying for his Sports MBA at Loughborough University and he is now the charity’s founding Chairman. The initial work programme will include a series of initiatives to establish the charity and help young people from around the world achieve their sporting ambitions.
The Foundation’s first focus will be on disability cricket in the UK, particularly wheelchair cricket, working alongside the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Monty himself will volunteer to train and encourage young people from all backgrounds, and this project will provide the resources for disabled children to develop their sporting skills.
The organisation will also raise money in partnership with the Walkabout Foundation to send rugged wheelchairs to India and other commonwealth cricketing countries. The specialist wheelchairs are designed to cope with tough terrain, and the foundation will establish a training school for the people receiving them so that they can learn how to use the equipment.
A Monty Panesar Indoor Cricket Premier League is also to be launched with the British School in Delhi, helping deprived children to gain access to free cricket training and health and education services.
The Foundation will organise an event called ‘Spin the City’, where event participants will walk, run, cycle and wheelchair around the city with Monty and other cricketing personalities. This will raise money and build the profile of the Foundation and wheelchair cricket and it is hoped that if this pilot is successful, it will be replicated elsewhere.
A final aim of the project is a collaboration between The Monty Panesar & Wheelchair Foundation to arrange a Wheelchair Foundation & India Test Series event, with further event details to follow.
The Foundation’s ambitious programme coupled with Monty’s passion and application, have helped him to recruit a select group of impressive trustees.
Sally Pettipher has been appointed as Chief Executive and she has been working with Monty for some time to help him to establish the Foundation in the UK and in India. Sally is a Founding Partner of Green & Gold LLP, a sports engagement business that provides public affairs, sponsorship and event management services to National Governing Bodies, charities, companies and individuals.
Monty is keeping it in the family by involving Isher Panesar, his younger brother, in the project. Isher is his recent housemate following a move to Chelmsford and works as a Development Team Leader for Spring Technologies, the UK’s largest technology staffing provider.
Also on board is Mike Selvey, the Chief Cricket Correspondent for The Guardian and a former English Test and county cricketer. Mike played in three Tests for England and famously dismissed Roy Fredericks, Viv Richards and Alvin Kallicharran with his first 20 balls, finishing with 4 for 41 in his first Test against the West Indies in 1976. His county cricket commitments included service to Surrey, Middlesex and Glamorgan.
Another key member of the Foundation is Peter Virdee, who has been working in the property business for the last 19 years.
Mr Virdee is a founding Partner of B & S Property and has interests in a number of other organisations. B & S Property has set up HK & JH Charitable Trust which contributes significantly in efforts to help people all over the world out of their hardship and distress as a result of local, national or international disaster, or by reason of social or economic circumstances. In 2011, Peter founded The Virdee Foundation, which aims to relieve the needs of women and children who have suffered or are in danger of suffering mental, physical or sexual abuse.
I personally have been honoured to be involved in the Foundation. Along with my brother I run a family business Anand International and Daewoo International (Europe) Ltd. based in Leicester, and I have been fortunate because my continued success allows me to indulge my true passions. These include my family, my communities – with a particular proud focus on promoting Leicester as a role model to other cities in the UK and abroad – and on helping people to improve their lives. I have previously supported and worked with many charitable organisations such as The Prince’s Trust, Roko Cancer, Silverstar, Rainbows Hospice and Crimestoppers Trust so I was keen to work with the Monty Panesar Foundation.
It is hoped that with the help of these industry experts, the Foundation will make a real difference to the children of Leicester and abroad, giving them the opportunities to get involved in sport no matter what their background.