Cricketing grassroots shine at Oval awards evening

Cricket volunteers, coaches, clubs and schools from throughout the country were recognised for their contributions to cricket and Chance to Shine at the Brit Annual Achievement Awards held at the Kia Oval last week (10 October).

The Brit Insurance Annual Awards recognise and reward the work volunteers do to make the ‘Chance to Shine’ charitable campaign a success. The winners rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of the game during the night including England Captain Alastair Cook, Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach and Heather Knight, who were attending to show their support for the charity.

Chance to Shine has brought cricket and its educational benefits to 7,000 state schools and has educated over two million children through cricket since it launched in 2005. Backed by Sport England and England & Wales Cricket Board, the programme costs £5million a year to run, the equivalent of £15 per child.

Local volunteer, Howard Moxon, picked up the Brit Special Recognition Award for his inspirational work regenerating and growing Chance to Shine in the Bedfordshire area. Howard impressed the judging panel by how he had volunteered to take on the strategic and operational responsibility to deliver Chance to Shine across the county. They praised the fact that thousands of children across Bedfordshire and Luton had benefitted from his work.

Anna Robertson was awarded Coach of the Year for her role in growing girls’ cricket throughout Herefordshire. Anna was described as the ‘pied piper’ of girls’ cricket in the county and her innovative coaching methods at Bartestree Cricket Club and beyond was commended by the panel.

The School of the Year gong was given to St Christopher’s RC Primary School from Liverpool. Based in an area synonymous with unemployment, deprivation and crime, the school has used cricket as a tool to give children different experiences and new opportunities. The school went from one of the weakest cricketing teams in the area to the strongest and has regularly enjoyed success at regional level and beyond.

Staffordshire Cricket and Stoke City Community Trust were the recipients of the Innovation Award for their unique partnership. The two organisations have worked together to deliver cricket into local schools where football was traditionally the main sport. The judges praised Stoke’s commitment to the scheme with Matthew Etherington and Andy Wilkinson visiting Chance to Shine schools this summer.

Former England cricketers Michael Vaughan and Devon Malcolm shared the Ambassador of the Year award for their fundraising efforts for the charity. Vaughan was the brain child of the ‘Chance to Ride’ event, in which he cycled to all the venues of the ODI England v Australia series and raised over £140,000 for Chance to Shine and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Devon has long been a supporter of Chance to Shine and chose the programme as the beneficiary of his 50th birthday celebrations this year. The event attracted 200 guests including Paul Nixon, Alex Tudor, Mark Nicholas and Phil Tufnell and raised £30,000.

Commenting on the awards, Chance to Shine Chief Executive, Wasim Khan MBE, said, “It is the coaches, schools, clubs and volunteers who make Chance to Shine work around the country and nights like this give us a chance to reward and recognise them for their inspirational work.”

The other winners were:
MCC Spirit of Cricket Award: Riverside School
Project of the Year: Old Buckenham Cricket Club
Volunteer of the Year: Simon Dyson
Young leader of the Year: Connor Whitelock

Videos of all winners can be viewed http://www.youtube.com/chancetoshinecricket

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