Chance to Shine Annual Awards
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Chance to Shine Annual Awards supported by Lycamobile

Coaches, clubs, schools, pupils and volunteers were recognised for their work promoting grassroots cricket at the Chance to Shine Annual Awards on Wednesday 2 November.

Special guests at the event, held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, included England batsman Jason Roy, Chance to Shine ambassador and former England cricketer James Taylor and Sky News TV presenter Sarah-Jane Mee who hosted the event.

The Chance to Shine Annual Awards, supported by Lycamobile, celebrated clubs, individuals and schools who help to spread the power of cricket and make the charity such a success. The winners on the night came from those involved in both the Schools and Street programmes, rewarding them for their efforts, enthusiasm and commitment to the game.

The winners included Stuart Elsworth, a primary school teacher from Liverpool, who received the MCC Teacher of the Year award. The judging panel noted that Stuart has, in a very deprived area of Liverpool – with a high crime rate and an absence of local cricket clubs – created a ‘cricketing powerhouse’. The school has won 59 trophies in the 15 years since he began cricket coaching at St Christopher’s.

Colleagues, pupils and parents all put the schools’ success down to Stuart’s unfaltering commitment to the children and to the sport. He inspires, encourages and supports his pupils to reach their full potential whilst embodying the spirit of cricket.

The girls’ cricket team from Carlton Bolling College in Bradford received the Lycamobile Special Recognition award. The girls have fully embraced cricket despite the challenges they face as a group of Asian girls and are also playing at a very high level. Due to the girls’ backgrounds, several of their parents were hesitant for them to play cricket. However, the determination of the girls and their successes are beginning to break down the barriers they face.

The girls were named Yorkshire Under 15 Champions, winning the tournament despite being an Under 13 age group. They have now established an academy, open to girls from all backgrounds, to try the game. They show an inspiring commitment to the game and are helping to show that cricket is a sport for all.

In the award voted for by Chance to Shine participants, the Inspirational Cricketer of the Year went to Joe Root. Joe, who is currently on tour with England, sent his heartfelt thanks in a special video message. Whilst Joe received the highest numbers of votes individually, many of the participants had voted for their own Chance to Shine cricket coach – a powerful endorsement of the quality and the importance of the work being carried out across the country.

Chance to Shine has been working since 2005 to reverse the decline of cricket in state schools. By providing coaching in schools and extra-curricular opportunities, the charity has reached nearly 12,000 state schools and more than 3 million young people, including approximately 1.5m girls.

England cricketer Jason Roy, who attended the evening, said “It’s been a fantastic evening, celebrating the people whose commitment to cricket is helping to spread the game across the country. The winners have faced different challenges and overcome them to make sure that cricket remains an important part of young people’s lives.

“Having been lucky enough to have played the game from a young age myself, I know how important it is that as many children as possible get the same opportunity I did. Chance to Shine provides vital support to the grassroots of the game and their work changes lives every day.”

Allirajah Subaskaran, Chairman of Lycamobile, which supported the Chance to Shine Annual Awards, said, “We are honoured to support these Awards recognising the hard work and dedication of those involved in Chance to Shine’s cricket programmes, and I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the winners on behalf of Lycamobile. Chance to Shine’s work, which through the power of sport, plays a crucial role in changing the lives of those living in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged areas, is something that speaks strongly to our own commitment at Lycamobile to connect people and bring communities together.”

Luke Swanson, Chief Executive at Chance to Shine, added, “Our goal is to inspire young people to play and learn through cricket, and our winners are a shining example of that. At Chance to Shine we have huge admiration for the outstanding work that they have all done, and will continue to do, and we are proud beyond words to be associated with them.”

Millions of primary school children in England and Wales will have the opportunity to play and learn through cricket, thanks to a major increase in ECB’s funding to Chance to Shine, announced by ECB Chairman Colin Graves at the Annual Awards.

From October 2017, the national governing body for cricket will double its annual donation to the children’s cricket charity from £1.25 million to at least £2.5 million. Chance to Shine will allocate the new funds to expand and enhance its activity in primary schools, working in partnership with County Cricket Boards across England and Wales.

Find out more at chancetoshine.org

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