This weekend will see Michael Clarke swaps bat for boat in the name of charity.
The Test skipper has steered Australia’s cricket team through some choppy waters, but his navigational fortitude will come to fore when he sails from Sydney to Gold Coast alongside a host of famous sporting personalities aboard the Perpetual Loyal yacht.
The Loyal Foundation endeavours to invest in the youth of Australia; raising funds for vital medical equipment that can then be used to help save the lives of many ill children.
At a charity lunch at Sydney’s Ivy Ballroom on Thursday, Clarke opened up about his past relationships with charity organisations, before choking up when his speech got close to home.
“This probably rings a bell personally for me because my wife and I have experienced through my nephew, my niece and my god-daughter a family that has needed this medical equipment to survive,” he told the healthy crowd of diners, which included sporting identities Ken Rosewall, Geoff Huegill, and Brad Haddin.
“I guess like a lot of things in life you don’t really feel it ’til it hits you personally and that’s probably the main reason why I’m committed to such a fantastic cause,” Clarke continued.
“We are the lucky ones; we are blessed that we can sit here and tell a story… that the machines that these kids are lucky enough to be attached to; it’s saved their lives.”
Loyal chairman Anthony Bell was also present at the lunch, and was proud of where the organisation had come since its launch in 2009.
“We said ‘Let’s stop auctioning off Wallaby jerseys and your gold medal swimming trunks and let’s go and do something for charity; let’s go and actually put ourselves through the rigours of something that’s a real challenge’,” he said.
Bell quipped that Clarke had been all too happy to join the cause, under a few conditions.
“He said ‘Mate, one day I’m gonna do this… yacht race; you just have to guarantee that there is [sic] no sharks in the ocean, and that it’s impossible for me to get seasick’.”
Michael Clarke shelled out more than $21,000 of his own money for equipment prior to the fundraiser. The yacht race starts tomorrow.
– Patrick Boddan
Top photo by Daniel Walker.