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CELEBRATION OF FEMALE VOLUNTEERS

5 months ago | Community

Throughout June, we will celebrate some of the most inspirational women that play a huge part behind the scenes to make our game a success in Middlesex.


June 30: Marie Holt (Ealing CC)

Marie Holt's involvement at Ealing CC started with her son, who went on to captain the Men’s 1st XI. In the mid-1990s, when a few sisters wanted to join their brothers at training on a Friday evening, Marie got involved and started the first Girls teams – playing competitive matches against other local Clubs. Under Marie’s leadership, the Girls section flourished over the forthcoming years and the number of players grew rapidly. The girls enjoyed successful indoor competitions with Marie, winning twice at Lord’s. Whilst the success was coming their way, the crucial foundations of Ealing’s Girls sections were being laid because of Marie’s hard work. Her role was recognised by the club, with the Girls’ Player of the Year trophy being named in her honour. This month she was named as a Vice President of the MJCA.


June 29: Maria Prime (Hornsey CC)

When Maria volunteered to be a Safeguarding Officer at Hornsey Cricket Club everyone was truly grateful. Over several seasons her role and commitment to the club has grown, first she improved the website, then took on the administration for junior cricket training sessions Next came All Stars Cricket, and then Dynamos Cricket – the club has never been so busy. Thanks to the organisational skill and dedication of Maria, young people can enjoy cricket in all weathers. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, Maria has had to consider so many new things: how many could train in a bubble, what to do if someone became unwell, was it sunstroke or covid 19? Maria coped with it all. Hornsey CC is so lucky to have Maria and are really appreciative of all that Maria does.


June 28: Abigail Stokes (Tedddington CC)

Abi became a volunteer at Teddington CC twelve years ago when her son started playing at the club when he was U6. She quickly volunteered to help run the Sunday catering during junior training in the mornings. Once her son was older, Abi volunteered to be the team manager and has stayed with the team for the past four years. This involves organising the fixtures and getting the team together, along with making sure that there is always someone there to umpire the games. Last year, Abi’s U17 team were the winners of the Middlesex Youth Cup! Teddington CC are lucky to have Abigail at the club, looking after the players and helping them through their transition from junior to senior cricket.


June 27: Lesley Brown (Harrow St Mary’s CC)

Lesley has been in and around cricket for a very long time, holding the position of Harrow St Mary’s Club Secretary for 25 years. She is responsible for all the membership administration within the club. Les is the club's expert in fundraising through grants, and also administers The Jack Petchey Foundation awards – which bring great joy to young players and coaches across the club. In recognition of her service, Les has recently been appointed as a Vice President to the Middlesex Junior Cricket Association. At the weekends she will be out supporting the adult players, and midweek helps the youngest at All Stars Cricket. No one is sure where Lesley gets the time or energy from, but she does all this on top of her day job!


June 26: Hillary Jackson (Chair of the MJCA North Area)

Hillary’s involvement in cricket started at Mill Hill Village CC where she ran the club’s junior section for 15 years. During that time Hillary also ran some area teams, as well as being the Chair of the MJCA East Area. She has held that position ever since, even though it has now become North Area. She also acted as Secretary to the adult cricket section of Mill Hill Village. Every year Hillary took on the role of ‘Chief Proof Reader’ for the handbook and now serves as Secretary to the MJCA Cricket Committee. Hillary’s contribution to the wellbeing of junior cricket in a number of roles for nearly 30 years is truly amazing and Hillary was rightly recognised for her tremendous service and sense of duty when she recently became a Vice President of the MJCA.


June 25: Tamlyn Worrall (Actonians CC)

A lifelong love of cricket meant that Tamlyn’s 3 sons were always going to join their local club Actonians. At first she volunteered with the Under 9s but was quickly involved in organising Junior BBQs and taking on age group lead roles. After gaining her UKCC Level 2 qualification, Tamlyn became the clubs Girls Manager, coaching, managing matches for all age groups and supporting the fledgling Middlesex Junior Girls League. As a member of the Junior Committee, as well as Fundraising and Junior Member of Actonians Executive Committee, Tamlyn helped ensure the support of the club for key projects such as the new nets, bowling machine, sightscreens and a new BBQ. A particularly rewarding part of her role at Actonians is building the volunteer base of qualified coaches, umpires and scorers through her mentoring.


June 24: Anita Harris (North Middlesex CC)

Anita is the youngest volunteer on this page at just 17 years old. She is based at North Middlesex CC, whilst also playing in the joint North Middlesex/ North London team in the Esme Irwin League. Anita has been helping at her club for two years now. She is the support coach for the U10 girls’ team playing in the MJCA League, as well as giving time to support the enthusiastic U6s – which is not an easy task! Anita spends her summer holidays helping at the club summer holiday camps. She is half-way through completing her UKCC2 Coaching qualification, and we cannot wait to see her qualified and continue her coaching journey!


June 23: Nirali Hathi (Harrow St Mary’s CC)

Nirali has focused a lot on making all the ladies feel welcomed at Harrow St Mary's, whether they have been there for years or are new starters. She carries out a huge amount of work to ensure that there is a successful setup, and organises all the fixtures, team line-ups, training sessions and any communication with parents. The time and energy that Nirali has given to the section has now paid off, as this season has seen HSM regularly field two strong teams playing competitive cricket. When she is not organising the women’s team, she is coaching the U11s. As if that was not enough, she also sits on the MWCL League Committee and represents them at the Middlesex Cricket Recreational Committee.


June 22: Tracey Seaman (Ickenham CC)

Tracey joined Ickenham having never played cricket before. Over her time at the club, she has poured huge amounts of time, energy and enthusiasm into giving as many girls and women as possible the opportunity to be part of this wonderful game. Tracey passed her Level 2 coaching qualifications, took basic umpiring and scoring courses, attended too many fixtures strikes, meetings, festivals, tournaments and matches to mention, and was a huge part in Ickenham running 3 girls’ teams for several years. She was also ICC Secretary in this time too! She consistently pushes herself out of her comfort zone to make sure women and girls experience cricket, enjoy it and play it in the right way. She has created a wonderful network across Middlesex, and always has female cricket's best interests at heart. She has just been made Vice President of the Middlesex Junior Cricket Association.


June 21: Keeley Juster (Actonians CC)

After a few games playing for men’s Sunday teams on a Sunday, a glittering playing career in the women’s game beckoned for Keeley. Playing her club cricket with Gunnersbury Women, her many achievements on the field were recognised as she represented Middlesex Juniors, Middlesex Ladies and MCC Ladies. For a while she was Captain of Middlesex Ladies, before handing over to the legendary Beth Morgan. Now with Actonians Ladies, Keely has developed her coaching to bringing on the next generation of female cricketers. She has developed a clear pathway for all girls in a very short period at Actonians, ensuring that the transition from Girls’ cricket to the Ladies game is now a much smoother journey. The club is reaping the benefits of having more younger girls wanting to play in senior sides.


June 20: Eloise Porter (Hampstead CC)

Eloise has been a key part of Hampstead CC since she joined the club in 2017. In this time, she has started coaching to help the girls’ section flourish, even squeezing in coaching sessions before travelling 50+ miles to play matches for the women’s team. She is the captain of the Women’s 1st XI and has done a fantastic job of integrating girls from the junior section into the women’s teams, where they have been performing to an incredibly high standard. She also worked tirelessly throughout the challenging 2020 season to ensure that the women could train and play matches as much as possible. Eloise also dedicates a lot of time and energy to various cricket committees, where she constantly champions the women’s game and endeavours to help make cricket a warm and welcoming environment for women and girls of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.


June 19: Dee McLean (Finchley CC)

Dee has been an absolute stalwart of women and girls’ cricket for over two decades – influencing great things at club, county and national levels. Starting with her two daughters in the early 2000s, her brilliant leadership built a strong girls section at Finchley CC – going into schools, managing all the day-to-day details, and acting as the highly respected figurehead. Dee managed the Middlesex County Girls U11, U15 and U17 teams for several years. She was also an active member of both the ECB CA and Middlesex Coaches Association. Dee now spends more time as an accomplished artist putting out beautiful work on our changing ecosystems, alongside coaching the girls at Highgate CC. She still has her love of the game and has just been made a Life Vice President of the Middlesex Junior Cricket Association!


June 18: Jill Hooley (Ruislip CC)

Jill has been the lynchpin of Ruislip’s junior section for several years. She has been a huge influence in growing the number of juniors at the club and has also held the role of junior administrator – ensuring that everyone’s membership details are up to date and that everyone is kept informed on all club events. Jill has also steered the club through Clubmark from the start, and continues to be a Clubmark guru making sure the club has everything in place to create a safe environment for young people. On top of this she has helped to organise fundraising events for the club, which has been a major contribution to the continued success of the club over recent years!


June 17: Alison Delaney (Brentham CC)

Alison is a Life Vice President for Brentham and acted as Hon Secretary for 10 years, but her activities are still all-embracing for the club for some 25 years. She has steered the organisation and the people in it, being conscious of what needs to be done and making sure it is. The duties of Secretary are onerous, but when added to monitoring all aspects of the club, they demand so much time and effort. As a result of her activities, she has been widely known in Middlesex Cricket circles. If this is not sufficient, Alison is responsible for fundraising - the bonus ball scheme has contributed over £50,000 to the club’s funds. This has been fundamental to Brentham’s financial stability, alongside the quiz nights and annual dinner. Alison is the Heartbeat of Brentham Cricket Club.


June 16: Sue Gallagher (Middlesex Championship League)

Sue is one of those selfless volunteers dedicating her time to assist recreational cricket within Middlesex. As the league secretary for the Middlesex Championship League up until 2020, her role and responsibilities included fixture scheduling, grounds suitability, and communications with the league Umpires, as well as assisting all areas of the Leagues Administrative sections. She also liaised closely with the Safeguarding & Participation Team at Middlesex Cricket to ensure member clubs were compliant with Child welfare related issues etc. Without Sue's dedication and enthusiasm, the League simply would not have been a successful recreational cricket body. Sue has always been regarded as a warm and helpful 'Iron Lady' being always approachable! A gem of a lady and with thanks to her always...


June 15: Sadhna Patel (Harrow St Mary’s CC)

Sadhna joined HSM when her sons joined as players – they're adults now! She was one of the club’s first females to qualify as a coach, and was nominated to receive a Jack Petchey Foundation Leader Award, an award given to only one person in the club annually. She continues to manage teams, checking player availability and notifying parents of selection in her current role as the Women’s and Junior’s Chairman. She has worked hard to encourage girls and ladies to take up the sport, which has paid off with the club having two women's teams. She has been instrumental in taking HSM from a club that played in a local council park, to a club that has grounds that are the envy of some other clubs.


June 14: Andrea Polley (Bushy Park CC)

Andrea Polley is an original member of Bushy Park Girls CC, when it was created ten years ago. She was a key driver in helping the club get off the ground and ensuring the ethos of the club, playing competitive cricket in a fun, safe and supportive environment, was maintained. She played a big part in organising some fantastic social events, and even arranged for bunches of flowers to be put in the toilets when the Women’s County side played at the ground! Today Andrea is a qualified coach who gives up her time voluntarily to coach the girls each week. She loves doing it and the girls love being coached by her - especially when she brings Maltesers for those girls who were in winning teams the previous week!


June 13: Deborah Burns (aka Murphy) (Ealing & District ACU&S)

Deborah is currently the Chairman and Training Officer for the Ealing & District Association of Cricket Umpires & Scorers, which she joined in 1982 to train for the then ACU Umpires examinations.She has umpired regularly in Middlesex for over 40 years, including over 20 years for the Leagues (MCL and MCCL), and since 1999 for MCC, mainly Women’s matches. Deborah has spent her winters setting up and running umpires’ courses for ACU&S and ECBACO, where in that time she will have trained some 500 potential umpires! Although mainly men, women are increasingly coming forward and Deborah is strongly supportive, hoping we will soon see all women officials in the Women’s game at all levels. Deborah is also an MCC member and sits on the Laws Sub-Committee.


June 12: Clare Howard-Vyse (Shepherds Bush CC)

Shepherds Bush are on the verge of launching a new women’s section and Clare is so excited to be part of growing something. She wants to make it something special for everyone to be part of – making sure that everyone is included, regardless of ability. Clare started volunteering about two and half years ago, and played a big part in building the Junior girls section which now competes in the MJCA girls leagues with a squad of about 30. She was inspired to be part of the club as she had witnessed how much her four sons get out of cricket on and off the field, it is a real community. Under Clare’s guidance, Shepherds Bush are on the verge of launching their new women’s training.


June 11: Natalie Raja (Bushy Park CC)

Ten years ago, Natalie Raja had a dream of taking a handful of girls playing at each of the 5 clubs in Bushy Park and making them into one girls’ side. Today, Bushy Park Girls/Women CC is a thriving female only club, with nearly one hundred girls and women playing cricket, producing many County Age Group cricketers and two County First Team players. The club has never changed its ethos – creating a fun, safe and supportive environment for girls and women to be able to play competitive cricket. The club also encourages players to qualify as coaches, where Natalie has been the key driver in making this happen. Her hard work and dedication in her role as Club President has helped the club go from strength to strength with a growing membership.


June 10: Barbara Wilsher (aka Scott) (Ickenham CC)

Barbara carries out huge amounts of work for Ickenham CC. She is responsible for administration of the juniors ensuring they are signed up and have paid their subscriptions, as well as keeping track of all the qualifications of coaches and volunteers – reminding them when renewals are required. Barbara also organises First Aid Courses and makes sure that the First Aid kits are fully stocked. She runs barbeques on Friday evenings at Junior training nights, and is the lead at the annual Family Fun Day which raises in excess of £7k every year. All these activities have been carried out over a number of years, which is testament to the size of the contribution that Barbara has made to the club.


June 9: Rose Graham (Grafton Primary School)

Rose’s impact at Grafton Primary since taking over as Head of PE has been nothing short of amazing. As an inner London school space is at a premium, yet Rose always ensures that cricket is the go-to sport on the curriculum. Despite all the restrictions that have come with the Coronavirus pandemic, Rose ensured that the ECB National Programme Dynamos Intros could be launched onsite last month (which was only made possible due to her organisation of everything at the school) and weekly sessions at nearby Wray Crescent have seen superb turnouts from Grafton’s students. Rose is always very keen to sign the school up to any offers and events that would allow students the opportunity to experience cricket.


June 8: Lizzy Conder (Middlesex ACO)

Lizzy has played cricket for 25 years, most recently at Hampstead CC. After years of playing, Lizzy took the leap to try her hand at umpiring and instantly stood out. Ever since her first course in 2017, she has stood in many games, including school, men’s, women’s, and County Age Group matches. Lizzy strives to prioritise her involvement in every stage of women and girls’ cricket, she is a massive advocate for the game. She sits on the MWCL Committee and advises on umpiring on the National Development Panel for Women. As Lizzy moves into her fifth season her vision is to umpire as high a level as possible and all of Middlesex are right behind her to achieve this.


June 7: Laura Thomlinson (Highgate CC)

Laura has played a pivotal role in the development of the Women & Girls Cricket offering at Highgate CC. After completing her UKCC2, she immediately threw herself into Junior Cricket at Highgate CC – coaching year-round across the Junior Programme and becoming Lead Women & Girls Coach. She has performed multiple coaching roles within the Middlesex Women & Girls Pathway, and is extremely supportive of Women & Girls Cricket. Laura repeatedly goes above and beyond the call of duty, making time to attend and manage all girls games, and runs additional training sessions for the girls to continue their development. She is always around at the club to create a welcoming atmosphere. Highgate CC are thrilled to have such a passionate, proactive volunteer within our ranks, and thank Laura for all that she does.


June 6: Lisa Noel (Pinner CC)

Lisa has been at the heart and soul of Pinner Cricket Club for over 20 years. Her roles have included facilities manager, bar manager, fixture secretary, All Stars Cricket coach, and, more importantly to many members, tea lady! Pinner’s teas are well known across the circuit and Lisa and team received an OSCAs award for the high standard of them! Lisa was instrumental during the Pinner CC national showcase CricketForce project, and was one of the key drivers behind a successful weekend with over 200 volunteers improving the facilities at Pinner. Pinner CC and the local community are so lucky to have an inspiration leader working hard behind the scenes to make the club as successful as possible!


June 5: Zoe Blyghton (Highgate CC)

Zoe has been in and around club cricket for over 30 years, starting at Finchley CC as Junior Manager and Club Safeguarding Officer. She is now at Highgate CC, an excellent addition to add to the existing Safeguarding Officers team, administrating several of the older Junior teams playing in the Transition Competitions (U17, U19T20, MDL), and always being present at the club to offer a warm welcome to any member who comes through the gate. She has also performed a range of volunteer roles in the Middlesex Women & Girls Pathway. Highgate CC are incredibly lucky to have her expertise and support and appreciate everything she does for the club.


June 4: Judy Knappett (Tower Hamlets area)

Judy Knappett set up one of the first pilots for Chance to Shine, linking Hague School and Victoria Park Juniors CC – who developed into Tower Hamlets CC. She is now a Chance to Shine vice president. She has been an active supporter of CTS for 17 years, ensuring children learn to play cricket alongside connecting with wider cricket events. The amazing opportunities inspire children, as well as connecting them to the wider world through cricket. She is committed to expanding opportunities for children and parents in Tower Hamlets and runs an annual cricket festival on Weavers Field. As a level 2 coach who has successfully completed her tutor training course, she combines school and community opportunities to ensure children and staff can experience every benefit of cricket.


June 3: Lara van Gelder (Teddington CC)

Volunteers are always the heartbeat of every cricket club, but a very important role is the Club Safeguarding Officer. Lara Van Gelder holds that role at Teddington, and with over 500 juniors in the club, the CSO role has considerable responsibility. Lara performs the role to an amazingly high standard, helping the children at the club to stay safe when playing cricket. She is always up to date with the latest ECB policies, guiding volunteers and coaches through the DBS system, or keeping the medical boxes fully stocked. The added pressures that the pandemic has caused has not stopped Lara doing every task willingly with a smile, and the rest of the committee are extremely grateful to her for all she does.


June 2: Denise Broom (Eastcote CC)

Denise is so much more than just the Club Safeguarding Officer for Eastcote CC. She has been an important role model to the club for as long as anyone can remember. In addition to being a committee member, she helps with the running of our junior section, helps run the social media, oversees the U21 committee and helps with the Clubmark team. And of course, she is responsible for the legendary ECC teas (remember them?)! A go to person, who will always help anyone and with a smile on her face. She is the first point of call for all junior parents and a happy face for any young player who needs some reassurance. Denise is such an important part of ECC.


June 1: Stephanie Reingold (Stanmore CC)

Attempting to list the number of roles and jobs Stephanie Reingold performs for Stanmore CC is almost impossible. In many ways it is easier to list what Stephanie does not do, which is to play for any of our teams and prepare the ground. Her energy, organisation and commitment has transformed the club from a sleepy place with a slightly elitist attitude, into a diverse, vibrant and valuable part of the local community. The club is warm, welcoming and ambitious. It is here for those who want to play cricket, whether that be in the summer or winter, and Stephanie will always be there to support. Nobody knows where the club would be without Stephanie – Stanmore are incredibly lucky to have her.

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