Queen hails a hero of local cricket
LOCAL cricket stalwart Jim Donaldson has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Jim, 69, of Frenchay Cricket Club, said: “It was an utter surprise. It’s a huge honour but I could not have done anything without my wife Sally who has been a massive support as well as lots of people at the club, the youth league and the Gloucestershire Cricket Board.
“You’re always a part of a team and that’s the secret of making whatever you do sustainable.I still wonder though ‘why me?’ when there are so many people out there who do so much for so many other sports?”
Jim has been chairman of the Bristol Youth League since 2000 and is a long-time supporter of girls and women’s cricket. He’s in his 24th year on the committee of the Bristol & District League club, and has been child welfare officer since 2005 and first team scorer for 22 summers and counting.
For ten years, Jim was also a youth committee member on the Gloucestershire Cricket Association, the forerunner of today’s Gloucestershire Cricket Board which he has served as the chairman of its Youth League and Performance Development Group for the last ten seasons.
He also set up the Frenchay Falcons, the county’s only disability club side, and has been instrumental in driving the development of the club’s facilities in recent years.
He has been involved since 2011 with Chance to Shine – a national initiative to take cricket back to state schools.
The success of the scheme can be clearly seen in Frenchay’s thriving junior set-up, in particular its burgeoning girls’ section which was started by Jim and Sally.
Jim takes most satisfaction from playing a part in helping youngsters realise their potential.
He added: “Cricket should be a social sport and if you’re lucky enough to have, as we do, decent facilities that are safe and secure for families then you should be making the most of them.
“That means giving children an opportunity because otherwise you will never know how far they might go.”
Jim will receive his BEM from the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, the Queen’s representative in the county, later this year while he and Sally will be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace next summer.
Jim also won the 2018 Gloucestershire ECB Coaching Award for Outstanding Achievement for his work at Frenchay and the Bristol Youth League.
Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB) chief executive Steve Silk said Jim thoroughly deserved his recognition.
He said: “His dedication is incredible and he willingly gives up his time to help boys and girls of all ages to play cricket.
“You can’t mention Jim without also mentioning Sally. What they have achieved and continue to do for youth cricket at Frenchay and across Bristol is truly amazing – they have even turned their front room into what is effectively a cricket office in order to run the Bristol Youth League!
“Without people like them both junior and senior cricket would not be in as strong a position as it finds itself in today.”