Chris Mainstone has been named as the winner of the Community Champion Award 2018.
Mainstone, who will now have the honour of ringing the five-minute bell at the upcoming One-Day International between England and India at Lord’s as a result, has demonstrated relentless commitment to the junior section at Ketton Cricket Club in Rutland over the past 14 years.
Chris becomes the second recipient of the award, following in the footsteps of Julia Farman in 2017.
The Community Champion is a joint initiative between The Cricketer and MCC, which recognises dedication to the sport at grassroots level. This year, more than 100 individuals were nominated by their peers and team-mates, with Mainstone the outstanding candidate from a shortlist of ten.
“I was really shocked and surprised. I didn’t know anything about it,” he said of the award.
I was absolutely speechless and on the edge of tears It’s lovely for the guys at the club to have gone to the effort of nominating me
“I was absolutely speechless and on the edge of tears. It’s lovely for the guys at the club to have gone to the effort of nominating me. It’s great to get positive appreciation, it’s a lovely thing and makes you reflect back on the years and the things that have been done. Just looking at what they said in the nomination makes you think about the journey.”
Mainstone will ring the bell to signal five minutes until the start of play at the ODI, which he and a friend will attend as guests of MCC President Lord MacLaurin, who sat on the judging panel alongside MCC Chief Executive & Secretary Guy Lavender, The Cricketer Publishing Ltd Chief Executive Guy Evans-Tipping and The Cricketer Editor Simon Hughes.
Lavender said: “It was a real privilege to be part of the selection panel to choose this year’s Cricket Community Champion. Although there were other immensely deserving individuals who featured on the shortlist, we were unanimous in our decision that Chris Mainstone should be this year’s winner.
“His tireless efforts to build a thriving junior section at Ketton CC, as well as his commitment to encouraging other volunteers to ensure that the juniors continues to be sustainable, made him the standout candidate.
“I am delighted that Chris will be joining us at Lord’s for the England v India One-Day International, and look forward to accompanying him as he rings the bell to get play underway.”
🏏 MCC and @TheCricketerMag are joining forces to highlight the work being carried out by cricket's volunteers.— Lord's Cricket Ground (@HomeOfCricket) June 7, 2018
🛎 Nominate your cricket hero and they could ring the famous five-minute bell at Lord's before England v India on July 14th!
📲 Read more https://t.co/ZDb20Vs5O0 pic.twitter.com/9B42saXzii
Evans-Tipping said: “This is the second year we have run the Community Champion Award with MCC. We received hundreds of entries, each one telling a heartening story of an individual making a difference to their community through the promotion of cricket. Chris Mainstone stood out as this year’s exceptional candidate and we are delighted to recognise his tireless devotion to his club and community through cricket.”
Mainstone reinvigorated Ketton’s youth setup after assuming responsibility for children’s cricket at the club in 2004, and by the end of the 2017 season there were more than 100 youngsters playing across seven age groups. Eighteen have been selected for the Leicestershire Pathway Programme with two girls winning their age-group county caps.
To help finance the growing section, Mainstone has organised several fundraisers, including car boot sales, tournaments and quizzes. According to the two committee members who nominated him - Paul Mahoney and John McAvoy - Mainstone’s infectious enthusiasm for junior cricket encouraged “an army of volunteers” to sign up to the cause.