RESPLENDENT IMAGES of clear blue skies and blistering hot sunshine will become synonymous with Emirates Old Trafford this summer after Lancashire Lightning agreed to wear the logo of the Cyprus Tourist Organisation on their Yorkshire Bank 40 shirts.
The deal, which has been negotiated and funded by Aejis – a corporate event management company based in Cheadle Hulme - will also see Lancashire help to strengthen cricketing ties in the Mediterranean island, which boasts a large expat community in addition to an enthusiastic local interest in cricket. Also, the British Armed Forces have two bases and use the island for rest and recuperation.
Aejis founder Bob Evans’ passion for cricket and Cyprus drove the deal and he was determined to help promote the country he fell in love with over eight years ago.
He said: “My wife and I became great friends with hotel owner George Gregoriou and his family, and we were immediately bowled over by his generous spirit. We learned of the troubles his family encountered during the invasion in 1974 and of how he was determined to stay in his home country despite some of his family emigrating to Australia.
“George is truly a remarkable man from a remarkable country and I am delighted to help show his passion for Cyprus by sponsoring Lancashire Lightning in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition this season. I'd also like to pay tribute to Lancashire for their creative thinking in getting this commercial deal over the line so quickly. This has taken less than three weeks from start to finish and shows how quickly things can happen from a position of trust.”
LCCC Business Development Manager Warren Hegg said: “Geoff Durbin, our Commercial Director, and myself started talking very informally with Bob about Cyprus and the challenges they are currently facing and also we mentioned about our shirt sponsorship opportunity, never really thinking that two such different entities could somehow come together. However, it is amazing what can happen when you talk! We were also moved by George’s story and Bob’s evident passion for the country and we believe we have come up with a partnership that delivers tangible benefits for everyone involved.
“We are delighted to be helping remind people that Cyprus remains a fantastic tourist destination and off the field, we will also work together to explore opportunities that will see Cyprus benefit from the Lancashire Way.
“We’ve also got our very own Cypriot at Lancashire in Andrea Agathangelou, who is a very talented all-rounder.”
Lancashire cricketer Andrea Agathangelou added: “I am very proud of my Cypriot heritage and naturally I am delighted that Lancashire County Cricket Club is helping to showcase such a beautiful tourist destination. I also look forward to promoting cricket in Cyprus with the rest of the squad when the opportunities arise.”
Lightning get their Yorkshire Bank 40 campaign underway on Bank Holiday Monday when they take on Durham Dynamos at Emirates Old Trafford (1.45pm). Tickets are currently on sale. For more information, please click here