'Found in a lorry with no family': Teen refugee using cricket to change his life
PUBLISHED: 17:28 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:21 22 November 2019
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
At the age of 14, Bashir Jabbarkhail was found hidden in a lorry in Norfolk after escaping his war-torn home in Afghanistan. He had no family, no money and he could barely speak English.
But only nine months later Bashir, also known as Bash, has settled into his new home in Thetford, he has started school and is using his passion for cricket to build a better life for himself.
Alone and uncertain of his future, the young refugee was discovered in a lorry in Norfolk on February 22 this year, before he was taken into the care of social services.
But today Bash is settled in with his foster family, he became a pupil at Thetford Academy in April and he loves to play cricket.
In his short time in the town Bash has been supported by his mentor at the school and cricket coach Mick Piggott who nominated the young player for this years Active Norfolk's Inspiration Award.
The awards ceremony will take place Thursday, November 21, in Norwich and Bash is one of three people nominated in his category for being positive role models who inspire other people.
Mr Piggott, also chairman of Thetford Town Cricket Club, said: "When I first met Bash he could barely speak English. Since then I have watched this young boy grow in front of me.
"A couple of months into sessions he asked if he could do some coaching, even with his broken English, and he was brilliant. I could see the connection he was making with young people.
"Everyone loves Bash and all they see is this wonderful person and they don't know where that young boy has come from and the horrors that he has seen.
"You wouldn't know that because what you see is this enthusiastic, determined, warm and kind person. He is an inspiration to young cricketers."
Bash plays cricket every week at his school and Thetford Cricket Club and he has been put forward to do his coaching. He said he hopes to play for England one day.
He said: "I try my best and hopefully I can play for England through hard work. I am very lucky to be nominated for this award. Last year was difficult but I am very happy now. Thank you Mick for supporting me."
Mr Piggott added: "For Bash the sport is his passion but also an escape from life before cricket. But we are his family now, Thetford Town Cricket Club and Thetford Academy. We care about him, look after him and love him."