The grassroots of the game recognised at Brit Insurance Annual Achievement Awards

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The great and the good of the cricketing world came together last week (18 October) to celebrate the work being done by Chance to Shine supported by Brit Insurance.

The Brit Insurance Annual Achievement Awards, held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, recognised the efforts of the club managers, coaches and teachers involved on the ground in one of the country's biggest school sports development initiatives.

The star-studded event was attended by England ‘keeper Mat Prior, former England captain Alec Stewart and Charlotte Edwards and members of the England Women’s team.

Ridge View School in Kent scooped the coveted School of the Year Award. The judges praised how the special educational needs school had really embraced the philosophy of the Chance to Shine programme and has witnessed fantastic physical and personal development of the pupils who have taken part.

Commenting on the award, Cathryn Falconer, a teacher at Ridge View School, said: “It’s fantastic. Given the level of disability of our students, it’s great that they have been able to win this award.”

The Project of the Year Award was won by the Cotswold East project. The judges praised how the project went about generating greater activity and increasing awareness of the Chance to Shine scheme and the benefits that it brings. They also commended the success that this project has had in convincing girls that cricket is a game that they can play and enjoy. David Taylor collected the award for the project.

David said of their award: “It’s totally unexpected. We and all the other coaches here tonight are here to bring children into the game and I am very grateful and appreciative that people are recognising the work that we do. It is wonderful to receive this award. It’s brilliant.”

England star Charlotte Edwards received the Ambassador of the Year award for her tireless work promoting Chance to Shine and girls cricket.

Kevin Pichowski from Wolverton Town CC received the Slazenger Coach of the Year Award. The award judges were impressed with Kevin’s innovative thinking, coaching and engagement that has made the difference to the lives of many young sports participants, whilst developing confidence and changing their perceptions of cricket.

Kevin said of his award: “I’m totally overwhelmed. I had no expectation of this whatsoever but I am very pleased. I am very committed to working with kids with special needs as my son has special needs so I feel it is something I want to invest in. I find the whole thing very rewarding. You go into the schools and the staff are so supportive and the kids are absolutely wonderful. I find it a fantastic experience and it is something I will do for as long as I can.”

The final award of the night was the Brit Insurance Special Recognition Award which was won by Paul Gash from Oak Tree School. The award judges were impressed by how Paul used cricket to turn the school around and how he used the sport to encourage school attendance and behaviour.

Speaking about his award, Paul Gash commented: “I’m speechless really. This is a massive honour. I wish our girls were here to share it with me, they are national champions now so the award is down to them as well. Since the start of the Chance to Shine programme our school has changed. The behavior, attendance and everything has improved and come into place and this award is recognition for all of that. It’s phenomenal.”

Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of the Cricket Foundation said: “The Brit Insurance Annual Achievement Awards is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight and say thank you to all the people in clubs and schools around the country who make the Chance to Shine campaign possible.”

Other winners were:

Volunteer of the Year: Ed Duguid  

Chance to Shine Young Leader of the Year: Jay Chauhan 

MCC Spirit of Cricket Award: Rebecca Ayton

Innovation Award: Chris Edwards