The term “unsung” hero is one we hear much about when talking about the work of volunteers in clubs and other organisations. It does of course refer to people who, without thought for any gain or material advantage, make a significant contribution to the life and success of those organisations.
The other quality displayed by these volunteers is that they stay very much below the parapet, quietly doing their stuff without fuss or creating waves and enlisting the help and cooperation of others by quiet persuasion. In so doing they become an integral part of the organisation, accepted by everyone almost as a permanent fixture.
Chris is such a person. He was Youth Development Manager for 8 years – a very long stint for such a demanding role, although he was actively involved in coaching before that. Not only did he oversee a growth in both the numbers of colts in training but also the quality of the training and development of young players who are now firmly established in the senior sides. As well as encouraging senior players to become qualified coaches Chris was also determined to achieve the highest possible coaching accreditation for himself. In doing so he gained much respect from the county coaching staff and administrators which was very valuable during the many Club Mark processes which we had the undergo during those times. He ably represented the club at meetings of the Western Area and other county-wide bodies.
As well as managing the overall youth development activities but Chris was also active in managing the various colts teams – with all the frustrations that that involves for anyone who remembers the late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning calls to say that such and such a player was having to pull out of the match on Sunday morning. I still have visions of him on a bitterly cold morning at the Sportsfield, umpiring at both ends for lack of a second umpire, vainly trying by patient advice to reduce the number of wides and no balls to manageable proportions and coming off the field with watering eyes and a streaming nose.
Chris’ contribution to the club was not limited to the colts activities. As a member of the management committee he makes a full contribution to the work of that body, helping with his extensive knowledge and experience across a wide range of issues. At a practical level his skill knows no bounds – or at least his willingness to tackle most tasks which come along – apart from tree pruning! When we took full possession of the pavilion some four or five years ago it was in a deplorable condition. While we struggled to get grant funding for the modernisation project he wielded cleaning mops and cloths, applied gallons of paint, scaled the heights on a scaffold platform all in an effort to get the building in a half decent state, if only to demonstrate what could be possible.
Recognition by the club of the award of a Life Membership is a mark of our appreciation for the contribution made by Chris – the “quiet man”