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England batting legend 'bowls over' pupils as he visits Gosfield School in Essex



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One of England’s greatest cricketers delighted pupils when he visited their school this week.

Former England captain Sir Alastair Cook visited Gosfield School, Essex, on Tuesday for a demonstration, a question-and-answer session, and to plant a willow tree.

Sir Alastair, who retired from international cricket in 2018, is an ambassador for Gosfield School’s sporting partner, Grays International, which makes Gray Nicolls cricket bats and has been running a tree planting programme since February 2020.

Sir Alistair Cook meet pupils at Gosfield School. Pictures by Mark Westley.
Sir Alistair Cook meet pupils at Gosfield School. Pictures by Mark Westley.

On Tuesday, the Essex Cricket Club player, first met all the pupils, before linking up with the school's cricket academy, and then took the opportunity to plant a Gosfield willow – one of the willow trees that has been planted at Gosfield School through its partnership with Grays.

In 15 years time, the willows planted as part of this programme will be transformed into Gray Nicolls cricket bats for use by international cricketers of the future.

Sir Alastair said: “It’s amazing to be involved with the tree planting campaign.

Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.

“It’s growing willow for a game I’ve always played, for a brand I’ve always used.

“As we become more aware of the need to look after the planet, sustainability initiatives like this one are going to be absolutely crucial.”

Sir Alastair is the fifth highest test run scorer of all time. He captained the English test team in 59 matches, as well as 69 one day internationals.

He is England’s leading test run scorer and the youngest player ever to score 12,000 test runs.

Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.

The Grays tree legacy programme began when Sir Alastair visited the home of the Gray Nicolls brand in Robertsbridge to plant 33 willow trees, one for each of his test centuries.

Gosfield marketing officer Jody Padmore said: “Gosfield School is honoured to be part of this wonderful programme, which combines sustainability with a proud sporting heritage. This programme embodies the Gosfield values of: grow, achieve, inspire.”

Gosfield Principal Road Jackson with Sir Alistair Cook.
Gosfield Principal Road Jackson with Sir Alistair Cook.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook plants a Gosfield Willow
Sir Alistair Cook plants a Gosfield Willow
Pupils at the Q & A session
Pupils at the Q & A session
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.
Sir Alistair Cook visits Gosfield School.