A dedicated sports coach from Banbury is to embark on a challenging mission ahead of a trip to Africa to help fight the spread of the HIV virus.
Carl Hamilton, who manages the North Oxfordshire School Sport Partnership Development which helps bring sporting opportunities to 50 north Oxfordshire schools, will cycle a 120-mile route to each of the schools tomorrow (Friday).
Sponsorship from the ride will help Mr Hamilton take part in a two-week mission to Botswana with the Cricket Without Boundaries charity, which helps improve Aids awareness through sports coaching.
Mr Hamilton said the project will be a natural extension of the work he does day to day with the NOSSP. “I passionately believe in the power of sport to change children’s lives,” he said.
“It’s similar to the work we do with Oxfordshire schools providing targeted programmes for children who have various needs.
“The Cricket Without Boundaries charity is a fantastic organisation as it uses the power of sport, and in particular cricket, to change peoples’ lives.”
Mr Hamilton used to teach Personal Social Development so has experience of educating youngsters about sexual health.
The programme will teach cricket to children of all ages while at the same time passing on messages to help battle the HIV virus, including the ABC code which involves abstention from sex, being faithful to partners and the use of condoms.
Mr Hamilton, himself a keen sports enthusiast and a former Banbury United FC player, explained: “The more you find out about life in Botswana, the more want to do something.
“Life expectancy is less than 40 because of HIV and about 25 per cent of the population is HIV positive. There is a very large number of orphans.
“We’ll be talking to be children about how HIV affects people and trying to break down misconceptions and prejudices which often break up communities.”
In countries like Botswana HIV is often passed from parents to children through breast feeding.
Mr Hamilton added: “The cycling challenge will be daunting but exciting, but going out to Africa will be fantastic, it will be very rewarding.
Mr Hamilton must raise £750 for CWB and a further £1,250 to cover expenses.
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/Carl-Hamilton