Stalwart Zahoor Ahmed is celebrating after being named coach of the year at the Chance to Shine annual awards evening.
The Preston coach was recognised for his hard work supporting grassroots cricket and received his award from England and Surrey batsman Jason Roy at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
The Chance to Shine annual awards – supported by NatWest – celebrates clubs, individuals and schools who help to spread the power of cricket and make the charity such a success.
The judging panel noted that Ahmed was helping young people in the community who would struggle to get involved in the sport otherwise.
After ending his own playing career, Ahmed has given his Saturdays over to teaching the boys and girls that come to the project he runs at Moor Street School.
Not only does he have excellent technical expertise but an incredible patience and a willingness to ensure that every child he coaches improves session by session.
Ahmed is also enabling the children to learn lifeskills from the sport and in the words of a parent ‘he teaches my son to be a better person’.
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 more than 3.5 million young people, 46% of whom are girls, in more than 14,000 states schools across the country.
Ahmed said “I feel so proud. A big thank you to Chance to Shine, they’re a brilliant initiative and without it, we would have really struggled to run the sessions.
“I’m so privileged to help the young people, not only with their cricket but with their life skills.”
Roy said: “This has been an incredibly inspiring evening. It’s been fantastic to hear the powerful stories of the people who make cricket the amazing, inclusive game that it is.
“I’d like to congratulate Zahoor for all his hard work and dedication to the sport.
“Chance to Shine is a brilliant charity and they are working hard to make sure that every child in the country is given the opportunity to play and learn through cricket.”
Martyn Wilson, head of sponsorship and hospitality atNatWest, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Chance to Shine this year as their first official partner.
“The Awards are a wonderful opportunity to put the focus on some of the many dedicated individuals who give up their time to support cricket at all levels of the game and we take great pride in being able to help recognise them.
“Chance to Shine does vital work providing educational and sporting opportunities to young people from every background all over the country, through the inclusive and diverse sport of cricket.”