David Cameron and Jonathan Agnew are to be patrons of a foundation to build a cricket stadium in Rwanda in memory of Christopher Shale
By Tim Walker
6:30AM GMT 12 Dec 2011
David Cameron and Jonathan Agnew didn’t immediately appear to hit it off when the Prime Minister appeared on Test Match Special during the summer. “Some people would suggest that, instead of sitting around watching cricket, you should be running the country,” Aggers had chided him on-air.
Still, the unlikely pair are to come out to bat for Christopher Shale, Cameron’s constituency chairman, who died of a heart attack at Glastonbury at the age of 56 in June. I can disclose that Cameron and Aggers have agreed to become patrons of the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, which will build the first ever cricket stadium in Rwanda. Shale had been passionate about the African country and had been a founding father of Project Umubano, a group of Conservative Party supporters who travel to Rwanda every summer to work with charities devoted to improving the lives of survivors of the country’s 1994 genocide.
Shale’s sons, Alby and Edo, who are supervising the foundation, are delighted that their foundation has attracted two such prominent patrons. “Christopher loved Rwanda and he loved cricket,” they tell me. “The Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation is a fitting tribute to his memory.”
I disclosed in July how, on the fifth anniversary of Umubano – the word means “friendship” – the Tory volunteers had, for the first time, beaten the Rwanda national cricket team by an impressive seven wickets. Alby Shale was man of the match with 45 runs off 19 balls.
Cameron had hoped to join the volunteers this year, but had to curtail his trip to Africa in July in order to return to Westminster for the phone hacking debate. He was unfazed, by the way, by Aggers’s googly to him on Test Match Special. “Oh, I don’t think anyone would begrudge me an afternoon at The Oval,” the PM had cheerfully replied.