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Julia Farman wins for her exceptional impact on grassroots cricket

Julia Farman, from Dunstable in Bedfordshire, was named the winner of the inaugural Cricket Community Champion Award, a new competition introduced this year by MCC and The Cricketer magazine. Julia won for her contribution to the sport through coaching, scoring and fundraising. Of particular note, she is the gender equality lead at Cricket Without Boundaries, the UK charity that uses cricket-related activities to deliver health and social messages in sub-Saharan Africa.

Julia has inspired many with her boundless enthusiasm for cricket and the quite staggering lengths to which she has taken it. As a coach, she became involved with Cricket Without Boundaries, with whom she has coached cricket to children in Kenya, Rwanda and Cameroon, raising awareness of HIV and is working with Lancashire and Durham Cricket Foundations on female empowerment cricket projects in the UK. In addition, she has raised money and awareness through sponsored runs to bring an end to female genital mutilation (FGM). Her achievements include a 10k run across London’s parks and an even more daunting one going from Headingley to Old Trafford.

In addition to the official recognition, Julia rang the five-minute bell at the England v South Africa ODI at Lord’s on Monday 29 May joining an illustrious list of previous bell ringers, including Sir Vivian Richards, Richie Benaud and David Gower.

The Cricket Community Champion Award is a unique competition that recognises the fantastic work that is being undertaken in cricket communities up and down the country. Nominations were invited for candidates who tirelessly invest their time and effort into building, maintaining and supporting the game at grassroots level, ensuring it continues to thrive.

Derek Brewer, MCC Chief Executive & Secretary, said: “Julia’s contribution to cricket is deserving of great recognition. She has coached, scored and raised funds for projects around the world, supporting and no doubt changing the lives of many. Her impact on the cricket community is exceptional and I look forward to welcoming her to Lord’s to ring the five-minute bell on 29th May.”

Guy Evans-Tipping, Chief Executive, The Cricketer, added: “Julia is a worthy winner of the inaugural award. She represents the very best of grassroots cricket in the UK. Of particular note is her fundraising activity through Cricket Without Boundaries. In her role there she has championed important issues and touched the lives of sub-Saharan Africans through our great game.”

Julia Farman, the winner, said: “Thank you! I am really taken aback by winning the award, there are so many people undertaking fantastic work in cricket. Cricket has such a great way of breaking down boundaries, and bringing people together from all different backgrounds, it makes perfect sense that we use the game to deliver positive social development for all.”

The Cricket Community Champion Award will be awarded again for the 2018 season.

The award:

The judges awarded Julia the accolade on the basis of the following criteria: 

  • Impact: a substantial, demonstrable and positive impact that has occurred as a direct result of the individual’s engagement and commitment
  • Passion: The individual will have sacrificed their own time and energy to encourage the advancement and enjoyment of cricket in their community
  • Community: this award recognises individuals who have helped advance participation and enjoyment of cricket among all groups but particular credit will go to those having a positive impact at grassroots, with young people, disadvantaged groups and where cricket has strengthened relationships across all sections of society
  • The judging panel was made up of: Derek Brewer (Chief Executive & Secretary, MCC), Matthew Fleming (President, MCC), Guy Evans-Tipping (Chief Executive, The Cricketer) and Simon Hughes (Editor, The Cricketer)

The final shortlist of nominees was made up of the following:

David Thomas (secretary, Enville Cricket Club), Dave Prosser (coach and volunteer, Whitburn Cricket Club), Ernie Brabbins (chairman, Appleby Eden Cricket Club), Julia Farman (scorer, coach, volunteer, and gender equality lead, Cricket Without Boundaries), Mark Hutchinson (chairman, Chieveley Cricket Club.), Alex Sandland (chairman, Tattenhall Cricket Club), John Skinner (coach, North Stainley Cricket Club), Dean Lawson (coach, Eversholt Cricket Club), Gareth Andrews (chairman, Vale Cricket Club), Barry Wood (welfare and youth officer/coach, Bronze Cricket Club) and Steve Bradbury (chairman, Rodley Cricket Club)