Volunteers from the Midlands were among the winners at the cricketing version of the Oscars – the NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards ceremony at Lord’s.
Richard Fowkes from Leicestershire club Kegworth received the Liftetime Achievement Award from England seamer James Anderson in recognition of more than 50 years of service to cricket.
Fowkes has been Kegworth’s groundsman for 30 years having previously played for the club. He is also an umpire in the Leicestershire Premier League.
The NatWest CricketForce award was presented by former England captain Michael Vaughan to Patricia Brown and Karen Sheed for their joint efforts in improving the facilities and ground at Notts & Arnold Amateurs CC in Nottinghamshire. Both were highly praised by the judges for their drive and enthusiasm in enlisting help and contributions from local businesses and volunteers.
Seventeen-year-old schoolboy George Hawbrook from Stone CC in Staffordshire picked up the Young Volunteer Award from former England and Leicestershire wicketkeeper Paul Nixon. Hawbrook is Stone’s head groundsman, a member of the club committee and he has gained his UKCC Level One coaching qualification as well as managing one of the club’s junior sides.
A special award, the Outstanding Contribution to Disability Cricket, was also presented to the Cricket Federation for People with Disabilities. This award was made in honour of Dick and Fred Wildgoose from Oswestry in Shropshire for their pioneering work in developing opportunities for people with different types of physical and learning disability to play the game.
The OSCAs ceremony, hosted by BBC Radio’s Test Match Special commentator and Cricketer.com columnist Jonathan Agnew, brought together more than 350 people from across the recreational game to celebrate achievements in volunteering roles in eight different categories.
Now in its ninth year, the NatWest OSCAs form part of the ECB’s volunteering programme, which gives cricket clubs advice on recruiting, educating and rewarding volunteers in all areas of the recreational game.