Welwyn Garden City disability cricket advocate 'humbled' by MBE honour
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:49 02 January 2019
Welwyn Garden City disability cricket champion Richard Hill says he must have read the letter informing him he had been awarded an MBE "a thousand times".
The national honour, bestowed in the New Year’s Honours List, recognises his services to disability cricket over 25 years, which he describes as “a real passion” that has “changed [his] life” as well as impacting others.
The Cabinet Office says Richard, 59, has worked tirelessly to improve access to cricket for as many people as possible, introducing new concepts and enabling thousands of people with disabilities to participate in the game.
Richard said: “I’m incredibly humbled by the honour - it’s quite unbelieveable really.
“But on a serious note, on a grand scale I am really pleased to be able to accept it on behalf of a sport I grew up with and have been involved in all my life.
“It’s great to see people within disability cricket starting to get the recognition they deserve and there are so many more playing up and down the country with a disability now than we would have ever dreamed, in terms of numbers.”
He dedicated the award to his family and in particular his wife for “their sacrifices in allowing me to follow what was essentially my hobby” and has become a full-time job.
Richard is credited for the growth of the disabled game from 12 county teams in 1999 to the two-tier National Disabled County Championships contested by almost 30 teams today.
At community level, working in diverse environments, Richard has introduced Clock Cricket to care homes and trialled Walking Cricket and a wheelchair-only format of the game.
Richard says as time has gone on, his focus has turned more to outcomes achieved with those participating in social games.
He said his work with various people with different impairments imparts “transferable skills” through the sport.
“That’s such an important part of it ... every day for me is a pleasure,” he said.
“Being able to impact different groups of people every day, that’s the ultimate really.”
Richard served as secretary on the committee of the British Association for Cricketers with Disabilities from 2001 to 2013.
As an administrator, Richard has provided support to coaches, clubs, county boards and gives insight to national forums and the third sector.