Diana Shaw

Diana writes on all things Red Cross.

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From World Cup to First World War hospital: the surprising history of English cricket grounds

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A group of First World War soldiers, British Red Cross nurses and other volunteers sit outside the Trent Bridge Pavilion Hospital during World War I.

British Red Cross volunteers and injured servicemen at Trent Bridge auxiliary hospital, First World War

We won! The Cricket World Cup final was this weekend and many of us gathered to watch in pubs, living rooms and even on our phones. England was hosting and England won in a thrilling match – now we can celebrate!

But 100 years ago, our cricket grounds were hosting British Red Cross hospitals instead of matches and victory celebrations.

Cricket pavilions become First World War hospitals

Cricket grounds including Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Old Trafford in Manchester and Derby’s County Ground all hosted Red Cross hospitals caring for injured WWI soldiers and sailors.

They were among more than 3,000 hospitals set up or taken over in the UK to treat the wounded during the war years of 1914 to 1918.

Some, like the Pavilion Hospital at Trent Bridge, carried on working into 1919 until the last servicemen recovered.

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Loneliness: how helping others helped Shuchi feel less lonely herself

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Imagine leaving your friends, family and career, and moving to a new continent. It’s a big adventure, but also scary.

Will you fit in, find friends, make a new life for yourself?

Shuchi, 34, faced all this when she moved from India to London with her husband.

“I suddenly felt very lonely as I moved here,” Shuchi said. “Even though London is very welcoming and I was able to settle down in this new environment very quickly.

“Back in Delhi I had a family group of around 30 people who I would interact with quite frequently. And I also had a large network of friends.

“I didn’t expect moving away… to impact me like this.”

Realising she felt lonely, Shuchi took steps to meet more people, including joining a salsa class, which gave her a lift.

“I would go… to my salsa class, where I would be surrounded by people and I might talk to everyone in the class during those two hours.

But then when it was over, “I would come home and still feel that I was not fulfilled.”

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Record-breaking two cyclones hit Mozambique: urgent aid needed after Cyclone Kenneth

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A picture from the air shows flooding and destruction of homes and roads by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth is one of the strongest storms ever to hit Mozambique

A second huge cyclone – Cyclone Kenneth – has slammed into Mozambique. This comes just six weeks after Cyclone Idai killed hundreds of people and damaged 35,000 homes.

Cyclone Kenneth also caused devastation on the island nation of Comoros and the neighbouring country of Tanzania.

Never, since records began, have two such enormous cyclones struck Mozambique in the same year. It is unusual even for one storm of this size to hit the country.

And a cyclone has never been known to hit Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, where Cyclone Kenneth landed.

Yet Cyclone Kenneth was a huge category 4 storm, with winds of 140 miles per hour and 8-metre waves. This is taller than the average two-story house.

“Rains from the storm have already caused flooding of over 2 metres (6.5 feet) in Pemba, the regional capital of Cabo,” said Luke Tredget, British Red Cross disaster management coordinator for southern Africa.

“To put this in perspective, average rainfall in a whole year in the UK is 885 millimetres (33.7 inches).”

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