NORTH-EAST cricketers are being urged to donate unwanted equipment to help poor African youngsters.

Durham University's Combined Colleges cricket squad visited the mountain kingdom of Lesotho during a three-week visit to southern Africa.

While in Lesotho, the cricketers coached local youngsters.

Dr Grenville Holland, president of Durham University Cricket Club, who was in charge of the tour, said: "Our students did us proud. They worked really hard to help these young Lesothan cricketers. .

"In a few months their national Under-17 squad travels to Malawi for an ICC tournament and in just over a year we hope to host them in Durham as part of an initiative led by Bishop Michael Turnbull."

To aid the development of Lesothan cricket, two of the Durham Colleges touring party have remained in Africa.

Ben Wicling, a sports degree student from Stockton, becomes national director of coaching, assisted by Rob Johnson, also studying sport at Stockton.

Dr Holland said: "Lesotho is a poor country. There is a real shortage of cricket gear. Many of the children lack any form of cricket clothing. Bats and pads are shared between many.

"If any parents or schools in the North-East have unwanted, outgrown cricket gear would they please let me have it at the university."

Dr Holland can be contacted on 0191-374 2526.