Hit for six by Henry’s Wear visit

Special guest at a dinner organised by Enon Baptist Church, Henry Olonga former Zimbabwe crocketer chats with Gordon Mackay ( left ) who arranged the event and Enon Baptist Church Pastor John Prothero ( right).
Special guest at a dinner organised by Enon Baptist Church, Henry Olonga former Zimbabwe crocketer chats with Gordon Mackay ( left ) who arranged the event and Enon Baptist Church Pastor John Prothero ( right).
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TEST cricket star Henry Olonga wowed guests at a talk-in on Wearside.

The former Zimbabwe international bowler appeared at a talk-in at the Roker Hotel, to speak about his eventful life.

The first black cricketer to play for Zimbabwe, Henry famously wore a black armband when representing his country at the 2003 World Cup, in protest at the actions of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

A warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of treason, a crime which carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe.

He then had to flee the African country in fear for his life.

The Zambian-born 35-year-old, who now lives in London, was invited to Sunderland by Enon Baptist Church, in Monkwearmouth, for the event, which was attended by about 120 people.

Gordon Mackay, who along with wife Dorothy met Henry at a festival in Keswick last year, was able to arrange the sportsman’s visit to Sunderland.

Mr Mackay, a member of Enon Baptist Church, said: “It’s been a very good event.

“The Roker Hotel put on a very good meal and Henry spoke extremely well.”

The fast bowler is also a talented operatic singer and two years ago released his autobiography, Blood, Sweat and Treason, which was longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2010.

Recently, he also made a foray into cricket commentary.

“He sang for us twice,” said Mr Mackay. “His voice is just tremendous.

“He also spoke about what happened in 2003 when he protested against Mugabe’s regime as well as his own faith.

“It was a long journey for him to come up to Sunderland, but I spoke to him afterwards and he said he enjoyed it.”

Twitter: @davidallison88