With my decision to make 2015 a huge sporting year I kept a good eye on the events taking place  for Ravi Bopara’s Benefit year.  I just couldn’t resist his benefit dinner at The Grange Hotel St Paul’s in London.

A huge added bonus was the presence of Kevin Pieterson – how controversial would he be when talking after dinner?

I wasn’t able to take many photos which was a shame, so not a long blog this time.

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St Paul’s is easy to get to from Essex, a short drive to Shenfield, main line to Liverpool and 2 stops on the Central Line and I was there and on time.

I am getting used to going to such events on my own but it always takes something to walk in to a large event with strangers.  I was lucky enough to meet a delightful, fellow rugby fan as I was looking at the table arrangements.

I struggled to spot my name, but that meant I checked out most tables and although at a cricket dinner I was thrilled to se Serge Betsen listed!  I knew I’d have to seek him out for a photo during the evening.

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I had a great chat with my rugby friend, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t quite hear his name when he told me.  We spoke about rugby and life in general, it was a lovely start to the evening.

Dinner time came and I found myself sat in a good spot to the side of the stage.  I believe there were around 360 people in the room which was a great turnout!

I was sat next to a lovely young couple, who live in Billericay and my well become parents at the school I work at – what a small world.  On the other side I had Stephen, he was vert good company, we got talking about children and I told him about losing my son Luke.  His sister had lost her son 4 years ago.  What chance we’d be sitting next to each other, a meant to be situation maybe.

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The meal was very good, especially considering the number of people being catered for, not so good for the vegetarians on the table however.  The timings of the evening went a bit awry, so we heard from KP and Ravi after the main course.  Sarah-Jane Mee of Sky was the ‘interviewer’

She was very good and didn’t hold back reading some challenging questions from the gathered guests as well.  I’m afraid I’m in the Alistair Cook camp when it comes to the political situation within the England dressing room. So I won’t linger on KP’s view.

However I did agree on his points regarding Ravi, he’s been treated very badly in general, moved up and down the order then being dropped just before this years’ World Cup – a poor show by England Cricket!

Mahela Jayawardene joined the guys on the stage, a man who has scored 11,814 top class runs – that makes him a total superstar!  He came across as a very humble man and was a delight when I bothered him for a photo.

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I had to seek out Serge Betsen and again he was a delight, I hope to interview him for In The Loose very soon.

The evening was running away and with work in the morning I wasn’t able to linger.  But a mention of the charities being helped during this year.  All doing wonderful work and very worthy of support.

  • Lord’s Taverners
  • Indian Ocean Disaster Relief
  • Essex Cricket Community Trust
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Magic Bus

There will be more events during the year – keep an eye on the website here – http://boparabenefit.com

Next up Ravi’s Benefit T20 Match

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