For some time now cricket has strived to extend its reach, particularly into inner city and more deprived areas. For this to happen it needs – among other things but perhaps most fundamentally – engaging and inspiring teachers. Stuart Elsworth of St Christopher’s primary school in Speke, Liverpool has proved exactly that, and before Christmas he was awarded the MCC Teacher of the Year award at the annual Chance to Shine bash.

The Chance to Shine Annual Awards recognise and celebrate clubs, individuals and schools who help to grow the game of cricket, rewarding them for their efforts, enthusiasm, passion and commitment to the game.

Stuart was rewarded for his unrelenting dedication to grassroots cricket and received his award from England batsman Jason Roy and Chief Executive of the MCC, Derek Brewer, at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The panel of judges were impressed with how Stuart has created a cricketing juggernaut in a deprived area of Liverpool with a high crime rate and a dearth of local cricket clubs.

Inspiring kids to learn to love cricket and fulfil their potential

Since Stuart began at the the school 15 years ago their cricket teams have amassed a staggering 59 trophies. Stuart is clearly able to inspire, encourage and support his pupils to fulfil their potential – the most vital currencies for any coach or teacher.

Stuart goes above and beyond the call of duty, running cricket sessions at break, lunch and after-school to help keep vulnerable children out of trouble and create a fun, safe space for the youngsters to enjoy. Stuart has built a cricket community and raised the profile of the game in Liverpool.

After receiving the award Stuart said:

It’s been a fantastic evening and I’m just absolutely delighted to have won. All the hard work is worth it when you see the children just enjoying the game. It’s just about building their confidence up and showing them that if you try your best and put the effort in then you can achieve things. Cricket has been amazing for the children and it means the world to me to be recognised by Chance to Shine.

Dave Goodall, LCB’s Cricket Development Coach who delivers the Chance to Shine programme at St Christopher’s, added:

The usual five or six schools used to dominate cricket in Liverpool and out of the blue St Christopher’s suddenly emerged and started to win. It was Stuart’s enthusiasm which makes the kids feel good and he wants the pupils to actually realise and achieve success.

Chance to Shine’s fundamental goal is to inspire more young people to play cricket and learn not just about the sport but about themselves, about the spirit of the game – and Stuart, with his passion and dedication for both cricket and helping young people, perfectly embodies that ethos.

From October 2017, the national governing body for cricket will double its yearly donation to the children’s cricket charity from £1.25 million to at least £2.5 million. Chance to Shine will allocate the new funds to expand and enhance its activity in primary schools, working in partnership with County Cricket Boards across England and Wales. The likes of Stuart Elsworth can serve as an inspiration for other teachers and coaches for the next generation of young cricketers. Find out more at www.chancetoshine.org.

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