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Wednesday, 10 July 2013 00:00

In Memory of Martin Bentley

When we were first setting up CWB in 2004, we were reliant on the goodwill of people we had never met, and their belief that CWB was more than a flash in the pan.

Our first steps into Kenya were made through the Foreign Office and a link to Adrian Radcliffe who is involved with the Nomads, a cricket club which, amongst other things, plays charity matches in the Rift Valley in Kenya to raise money for local good causes.

Adrian suggested talking to someone called Martin Bentley, a headmaster based in Nakuru, describing him as 'a good man'. To say that this moment was one of a very few pivotal moments in the development of CWB in Kenya would not be an overstatement. Between Martin and a few others who helped us set things up on the ground, CWB was able to run a hugely successful first project in Kenya over the course of a month, taking in rural Western Kenya, Nakuru and Nairobi. This laid the bedrock for CWB's 10 projects in Kenya over the following 7 years, training over 300 new coaches and reaching over 5000 children. It also led to our involvement with the Maasai Cricket Warriors who go from strenght to strength.

Martin was one of the stand out characters we met whilst setting up CWB and has remained a stalwart of the CWB family ever since. He has looked after us both by helping with logistics but also with great generosity in hosting us in Nakuru. Nakuru remains one of CWB's success stories and we are very thankful to Martin for all his help.

On a personal level, many within CWB would count Martin as a true friend. When we first met him, we shared many an evening, looking out over the Rift Valley from his house in Nakuru or meeting up in Nairobi. His enthusiasm for life, welcoming character, great knowledge of Africa and former career as a professional footballer led to entertaining discussions every time. I know I speak for everyone when I say I will never forget the time we spent together.

Sadly, Martin died suddenly on 15th June in Nakuru, having just returned from a trip to Ethiopia. As Adrian said whilst introducing us, Martin was a good man. There are few like him in the world; so in fact he was not just good - he was a great man and he will be missed by all at CWB.

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