Aldwick cricket stalwart Ian Guppy has won national acclaim for leading the club’s fightback after an arson attack.
Guppy won the ‘heartbeat of the club’ award at the NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCAs) at Lord’s attended by England star Chris Woakes.
The awards highlight the significant contribution volunteers have made to cricket across England and Wales over the past year.
Guppy has played a key role in a big team effort at Aldwick CC that has seen the club get back on its feet after an arson attack more than two years that destroyed the club’s HQ at the Felpham Oval.
He first won the ‘heartbeat’ award at Sussex level a few weeks ago, which earned him a place on the national shortlist and an invite to the Lord’s ceremony. And Guppy couldn’t believe it when he was named overall winner.
Guppy said: “It all feels surreal, but at that same time I feel the work everyone has put in makes this award something we should all be proud of.
“The day at Lord’s was fantastic – just being there was enough, winning it was the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.
“The future of the club is bright and I cannot wait to get going again next season.”
Stirlands stalwart Charles Hunt was also on the national shortlist, his name in the lifetime achievement category after decades of effort at the Birdham club.
The ECB said that following a memorable summer highlighted by the ICC men’s World Cup victory, the enormous value and contribution of volunteers has a sharpened focus as cricket aims to capitalise on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow the game at all levels.
World Cup winner Woakes revealed his gratitude for the role volunteers have had on his own career after he presented the NatWest Lifetime Achiever OSCA to Ernie Brabbins, who has dedicated almost 60 years to various volunteering roles in Cumbria.
Woakes said: “Every one of our World Cup squad has benefited from passionate people and coaches that have put in so many hours to make us better cricketers and better people.
“My only dream when I was a kid was to play cricket with my friends and for it to lead to what it has done makes me feel very privileged. It is because of volunteers at clubs who put in the true graft, for the love of the game, that give kids like me the chance to begin that journey. I can only thank them for what they do.”
The NatWest OSCAs were established in 2003 to reward the valued contribution of volunteers.
Nominated volunteers from across England and Wales were in attendance at the Lord’s Nursery Pavilion luncheon with awards presented across seven categories.
Young England Women’s bowler Freya Davies – also from Sussex – presented Guppy with the Heartbeat of the Club award.
ECB Director of Participation and Growth, Nick Pryde, said: “Today is a really important day for cricket. We reflect on the amazing summer we had and the crucial role that volunteers play in our game.
“Our volunteers help us to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of kids who have been inspired by this summer’s events remain in our great game.
“Our role as a governing body is to lead the growth of cricket and our volunteers are fundamental to that ambition and we thank them for all of their efforts.”
NatWest has been a proud sponsor of Cricketing Communities in England and Wales for 38 years with the NatWest CricketForce programme - which helps thousands of clubs to upgrade their facilities - the United Kingdom’s largest annual sport volunteering programme.