Nominating him for the award, Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB) community coach Pete Lamb – who went on a 2017 CWB trip to Rwanda led by Thom said: “Thom is continually forthcoming, always smiling and absolutely mad keen to help. He thrives on taking on incredibly ambitious projects and making huge success of them. The All Stars programme at Downend is proof of this, as is his brilliant work as Rwanda country manager for CWB.
“He is someone with a real passion for coaching and sharing his love of the game. His positive manner and enthusiasm is infectious and he ensures every new player to the game leaves wanting more.
“With CWB he gives a huge amount of time to trying to develop the game in Rwanda. Before my trip he made sure he met with every volunteer prior to the trip to ensure they felt welcome and confident before heading out which shows the extra effort Thom is prepared to make to give people the very best experience.”
As Lead-Activator of Downend’s All Stars programme Thom has played a part in every aspect of the scheme from promotion and administration through to coaching and supporting fellow activators. The club had around 100 children sign up in 2017 and a similar number this year making it one of the best attended All Stars sessions in the country. To support these sessions he has driven the recruitment and training of the club’s older junior players to help out. This has created a culture of youngsters giving back to the club while also furthering their own development. Thom has also helped support the transition of junior members into adult cricket while playing in Downend’s 4th XI.
Thom went on his first CWB trip to Cameroon in 2014 and has now been on four projects in total. During those trips teams of volunteers from the UK coach in schools and use cricket as a tool to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, gender equality and social cohesion.
Thom said: “I was absolutely stunned to win the award, it was a huge surprise. I love cricket, watching, playing but particularly coaching and how a simple set of skills can bring people together and be used to break down social barriers. Whether I am on a CWB project or running an All Stars session at Downend I just try to share my enthusiasm and hope to spark the same passion that I have in others.”
Thom will receive his award on the pitch during England’s Test match with India at the Ageas Bowl at the end of August when he will be a guest of the ECB.