From Club Volunteer and Teacher to Lords!

February 8, 2019

Out of the Blue – The road to Lords as a Volunteer

As a PE teacher working at Holbrook Academy I had overseen the development of Girls Cricket within the school, with the assistance of the Chance to Shine Charity and through The Lady Taveners Indoor Cricket Festivals, we brought in Cricket Coaches to raise standards and to give young girls the experience of this exciting game.  We had great success frequently qualifying for the County Finals and in 2016 missing out on making the regional finals by one run!


To enable the girls to continue with Cricket locally we approached Shotley Cricket Club and proposed the development of a Ladies team. With the guidance of Spencer Wuirdart Gray and Suffolk Cricket we created the Ladies Section of the Club and to enable the continuation of coaching a Teaching Assistant (now teacher and Club Captain) and I took up the offer to train as a Level 2 Coach. We both qualified in the Spring of 2017.  This achievement coincided with me hitting my 55th Birthday and I decided to use it as an opportunity to change the direction of life and at the end of the Summer Term I retired from PE teaching after a 32 year Career in State Education.


I was also able to train for delivery of the redesigned Chance to Shine Program for State Primary Schools.  I spent 2018 delivering Coaching session to Year 2-6 in Primary Schools, U13 and U15 Indoor Cricket Coaching for The Lady Taveners, coaching Table Cricket at Hillside Special School and assisting with the Local and Regional Festivals (I undertook my first visit to Lords supporting Thomas Wolsey School who qualified for the National Finals), Assistant Coaching with the U11 girls squad, Club Coaching at Shotley Ladies and Colts Coach at Edwardstone and Boxford Cricket Club. In addition to playing for SPCC-Ladies I represented Suffolk in the East Anglian Lady Veterans Games and took part in my first Cricket Tour to The Netherlands in April 2018.


I firmly believe that it’s important to take on new challenges and that, as a consequence, new opportunities will arise and new adventures are offered.


In the Summer of 2018 I received an email containing an invitation to apply for a volunteering role at the 2019 Men’s World Cricket Cup. Now in a position of greater flexibility I applied for the role of Sports Presentation at Lords the home of English Cricket. I received confirmation that they were interested in me and I was invited for Interview in October 2018. My second visit to Lords. Getting to Lords was an adventure in its own right, and not something I’m comfortable with. On arrival at the ground I was directed to the ECB building where I was introduced to the day and had the chance to chat and meet 40 others also on interview for a variety of roles.  We were given group tasks to perform, an individual interview and ordered the ‘Cricketeers Uniform for the Championship. We were the last group of Volunteers to be interviewed, clearly a significant day for the Cricketeers team! 10,000 people applied, 6,000 were interviewed and 4,000 were recruited.


In November I heard that I was successful and I selected my date of training April 4th 2019. Just before Christmas I received an email asking if I would take part in a ‘filmed interview’, they were looking for a Cricketeer with a ‘coach/volunteer’ background,  and I was teacher/coach looking to become a volunteer so I answered part of their brief. I am of course up for a challenge and looking to step into ‘the uncomfortable zone’ so I said ‘Yes’!


I took my third journey to Lords on Thursday 17th January, more confident, but unsure of what would happen. I and another Cricketeer were met at the gate and taken through to a room with a clear, fantastic view of the grounds. It was here I met Mary Cahill, Head of the Volunteer Program for the WC2019 and she explained briefly what would happen. In the morning we would wear the Cricketeers Uniform, and take part in a publicity shoot and filming at different venues in the ground, with my colleague for the day. We were joined by James Taylor, England Selector, who is ‘the face’ of the Volunteer/Cricketeer program along with Charlotte Edwards. In the afternoon there would be a ‘fashion shoot’ to advertise the uniform followed by the ‘filmed interview’ where I’d be asked about my back ground, my teaching experience, my coaching experience, why I volunteered and what I expected to get out of ‘volunteering’.


The day proceeded as promised, in beautiful grounds with freezing cold weather (quite a few shots outside in shirt sleeves!) but amazing sunshine. I was seen by a make up artist, photographed and filmed more than on my wedding day, I chatted to James about his career and experiences as an England player; ‘ how does it feel to walk out on this hallowed turf to face the opening bowling in an Ashes test?’ We discussed the importance of encouraging children to get involved in leadership activities, something I have always supported and pursued at Holbrook Academy as it is a route to the opening of doors of opportunity and the exciting adventures that lie beyond.

In the afternoon we were joined by two more ‘Cricketeers’ also in the uniform and we took part in a fashion shoot. The day finished with my filmed interview on the stands overlooking the pitch. I believe the interview is to be melded with my male colleagues and the resulting ‘conversation’ will be shown to the 4,000 Volunteers who attend the training days and become the ‘Cricketeers’. The aim is to make the publics experience of the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup a truly amazing experience.


Report by Juliet Wiles



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