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Teen refugee given gift to help ‘tremendous’ sporting talent

PUBLISHED: 11:28 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 08 July 2020

Afghanistan refugee, Bashir Jabbarkhail, 15, was awarded a cricket bat from Breckland Councillor Stuart Terry. Photo: Mick Piggott

Afghanistan refugee, Bashir Jabbarkhail, 15, was awarded a cricket bat from Breckland Councillor Stuart Terry. Photo: Mick Piggott

Mick Piggott

A 15-year-old refugee who escaped a war-torn country and made Norfolk his home has been given a boost in his journey to realise his “tremendous” sporting potential.

Bashir Jabbarkhail at Thetford Academy with his mentor and cricket coach Micky Piggott. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Bashir Jabbarkhail at Thetford Academy with his mentor and cricket coach Micky Piggott. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Bashir Jabbarkhail’s story has touched the hearts of many and despite only arriving in the country in February last year, he has already become a valued member Thetford’s sporting community.

With a talent for cricket, Bashir hopes to create a better life for himself and has already become a coach at Thetford Town Cricket Club’s junior training sessions.

Now the teen has been given his very own cricket bat by Breckland District councillor Stuart Terry, to help him on his journey.

Mr Terry said: “Bashir’s plight was highlighted in the Thetford and Brandon Times last year, escaping from war-torn Afghanistan, and the horrifying story truly touched my heart.

Bashir Jabbarkhail at Thetford Academy Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019Bashir Jabbarkhail at Thetford Academy Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

“I wanted to do something that would continue to lift his spirits and I know that he loves his cricket.

“I wish Bashir every success for the future and cannot wait to see him play for Thetford Town CC.”

MORE: ‘Found in a lorry with no family’: Teen refugee using cricket to change his life

Bashir, who is now living in the town and has been attending Thetford Academy for more than a year, said: “ I am so happy with my gift and want to thank Stuart from the bottom of my heart.”

Aged just 14, Bashir was found hidden in a lorry in Norfolk in February last year. He had no family or money.

But he has thrived in the town, and also became a finalist for the Active Norfolk Inspiration Award in 2019.

Thetford Cricket Club’s chairman Mick Piggott, who is Bashir’s cricket coach and mentor, added: “Bashir has settled brilliantly into the community and the cricket club, and we are tremendously proud of the impact and progress Bashir has made as both a player and junior coach.

“There is no doubt that with his passion for cricket, his wonderful nature and his excellent work ethic, Bashir will soon be fulfilling his tremendous potential in cricket.

“I would also like to thank Stuart for this generous gift and I know that he and his family are no strangers to Thetford Cricket Club - his brother Peter was a player and junior coach and his sister in law Jenny was a former secretary and chairperson.”


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