Big score for charity cricket match

A charity cricket match and fundraising dinner held in Mossburn brought the local community together and raised almost $40,000 for Farmstrong and Southland Rural Support Trust. 

The inaugural event, held in February, was dubbed Batting For Rural Mental Health and was MC-ed by TV personality, journalist and Rural Support Trust ambassador Matt Chisholm. 

Lumsden beef farmer and keen indoor cricket player Matt Paterson organised the event with the help of some mates to bring people together and raise awareness around the importance of mental health.  

“I’ve been through some stuff myself in the past and there was a real need in the community for a big social event. Back in the day there were dances and balls and things like that, but that doesn’t happen now because people are so busy,” Matt says. 

Despite wet weather forcing the cricket match onto a tennis court with a roll-out cricket pitch, the game was a huge success with team Lumsden coming out on top. 

And there was no shortage of star power in the cricket teams with former All Black Jimmy Cowan, former Highlanders Marty Banks and Kelvin Middleton and former Black Cap Lou Vincent stepping up to take part. 

Matt, 30, says the turnout was great despite the weather, with about 200 people coming along to watch. 

“Everybody really loved it, and it was great to see everybody getting together and talking and enjoying themselves.” 

 After the cricket match, a fundraising dinner was held at the Mossburn Community Centre, which was also a hit with the locals. 

“There were about 250 people at the dinner, the food was great, and Matt did a fantastic job being the MC and interviewing different people up on stage about their mental health challenges.” 

Afterwards, there was an auction from some of the 69 sponsors of the event and then local band Jetset provided live music for the rest of the evening. 

Bringing community together 

Matt says the event was of huge benefit to the community. 

“It got people off the farm and got them together socialising and talking. By holding the event, we were doing something for the community and being proactive about mental health, which is great. 

“A highlight for me was just seeing everybody get together and have a good time.” 

He says the money raised will go towards organisations that help people. 

“It’s good raising money to help people and knowing the money will make a difference.” 

Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive, he says. 

“We know from feedback it helped someone get out of a dark place. Hearing that the event has put conversations about mental health in people’s minds is awesome.” 

 Community support essential 

Matt says the event couldn’t have gone ahead without the community support. 

“I’d just like to say a massive thanks to everyone in the community who helped out with their time and donations. It couldn’t have gone ahead without them.” 

Matt, who has a three-year-old daughter, says there are plans to make Batting For Mental Health a regular event every February. 

“Everybody in the committee who helped organise it is excited and passionate about it, and we all have kids so are thinking about their future, too.” 

 Visit the Batting For Rural Mental Health Facebook page for more information. 

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