Sports stars turned out to celebrate as Saracens announced they are joining forces with cricket fundraisers to promote the importance of team sport.
Rugby Union Heineken Cup finalists Saracens have become an official partner of the world’s number one cricket charity Bunbury Cricket Club, which has raised almost £16million for good causes.
The charity was founded by David English, who also helped set up the Bunbury English Schools Cricket Festival, which has helped the development of hundreds of young cricketers, including 60 who have gone on to represent England – such as current captain Alistair Cook.
Cook and fellow England internationals Steve Finn and Eoin Morgan were at the launch to show their support for the new partnership at Allianz Park on Friday.
The Saracens Sport Foundation was created in 2000 to inspire people through sport, and last year Saracens was recognised for its community work by being shortlisted for the Beyond Sport Community Club of the Year award.
The main link between Saracens and Bunbury's is the long term friendship of Saracens chairman Nigel Wray and Mr English, who share a passion for team sport and the role it can play tackling broader issues.
Mr English said: “Nigel Wray and I have known each other for 53 glorious years. He has always been a star and without question, the most generous man I have ever met.
“His spirit, determination and driving ambition to help children and those less fortunate to fulfil their promise, particularly on the field of sport, is precisely why I created The Bunbury’s.
“We have led parallel lives and felt that now is the time to embrace our mutual passion and I am proud that we are forming the partnership between The Bunbury’s and Saracens Sport Foundation.
“Our partnership is based on our key to life - ‘to love, laugh, live and give’. Nothing has changed. Here’s to the next 53 years.”
Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said: “‘Teams not Gangs’: I borrowed that phrase many years ago because for me it sums it all up. If we don’t include kids, especially young boys, in teams then don’t be surprised if, when excluded, they form their own team and it’s called a gang.
“I’ve known David English for so long that it seemed only natural for us all to try and bring together two great sports to try and do still more to give young people a chance. A chance to be included, but to learn also discipline, behaviour, manners, winning, losing, all of them actually life skills.
"And so to help create better people who will therefore have a better chance in life, which is better for us all.”
The partnership between Saracens and The Bunbury’s will see the two charities share their expertise and resources, and the two will also come together this summer when Saracens XI will take on the cricket team on Sunday August 10 at Totteridge Millhillians Cricket Club.