Despite the pandemic over the past two years, the Johnners Trust has continued to operate as actively as possible in the circumstances. In April 2021 we duly held our awards panel meeting via Zoom, when we once again agreed to support Blind Cricket England and Wales (BCEW) both for their annual Development Festival at Leicester University and their flourishing women and girls programme throughout the country.
The total funding for both these applications was in excess of £17,000. David Gavrilovic, the vice-chairman of BCEW, reports that after a year lost to Covid-19 the BCEW Johnners Trust Development Festival returned in 2021. More than 50 players representing clubs from across the country came together in Leicester for two excellent days of cricket played in the best of spirits. Bradford & District won the tournament after going through the weekend unbeaten.
The ongoing discussion about the future development of visually impaired cricket in England and Wales, involving the ECB, BCEW, the Johnners Trust and the Lord’s Taverners, is still in progress. There have been delays caused by the pandemic, but hopefully some real progress will be made shortly.
We also agreed in principle to grant, as usual, Johnners scholarships to talented young cricketers in financial need to help them progress in the game. Because of the pandemic leading to the late start in cricket activities throughout the country, we were advised by David Graveney to defer such awards until later in the year when the element of need will have become clearer. The panel did agree, however, to support an application from Cricket East (Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire) for scholarships to be awarded to 15 talented young cricketers (both girls and boys) on the Wicketz programme. These young players cannot afford the cost of kit and travel and have been selected for county age group representative squads.
Although David Graveney has now retired from his position as National Performance Director of the ECB, we are delighted that he has offered to continue to advise on and operate this most important part of our funding. Nobody in the game knows more about the emerging young players than he does.
Annual Dinner, Monday 8th November 2021
At our annual dinner on 8 November in the Long Room at Lord’s, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Trust and I am delighted to report that the dinner was a sell-out. We raised an excellent £18,000 towards funding our Johnners scholarships.
We were greatly looking forward to having Ted Dexter, the legendary Test cricketer and England captain, as our speaker, but as you will know he sadly passed away earlier in the summer. However, we were delighted to that his widow Sue Dexter agreed to join us together with Johnny Barclay, the former Sussex captain and Director of the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation.
Unfortunately David Gower, one of our Vice Patrons and former England captain, was not able to join us due to work commitments at the T20 World Cup. Sir Tim Rice, another Vice Patron, very kindly agreed to stand in for David to help us celebrate this great landmark.
Secretary of The Johnners Trust
I hope you and your families are keeping safe and well during these difficult and challenging times. At least the series against the West Indies has now commenced, albeit behind closed doors. At last some real cricket to look forward to!
Despite the lockdown, our Trustees have been extremely busy and proactive in a number of different ways.
Change of Name
Firstly, after twenty-five years we have decided to change the name of the Trust. Henceforth we will become The Johnners Trust, which we feel is much less of a mouthful than the present name. We do hope you will all be happy with this change!
Annual Dinner, Monday 9th November 2020
It will come as no surprise to you, I am sure, that we have decided to cancel our dinner at Lord’s this year. The MCC have informed us that they do not anticipate making any revenue from any events this year, as they believe that social distancing will make this very difficult, if not impossible.
Even allowing for the recent relaxation of lockdown rules throughout the country, there seems little likelihood that events such as our dinner will stand any chance of returning to normal in the foreseeable future. This is extremely disappointing, bearing in mind it would have been our 25th anniversary dinner with one of our Vice Patrons, David Gower, and also the great Ted Dexter lined up to join us. We obviously hope they will still be able to join us in 2021 and the date for next year is Monday 8th November – a bit early I know, but let’s live in hope and make a note in your diary now!
We are considering whether other options might be possible, not only to launch the new logo and name of the Trust, but also to keep you all involved with the Trust as far as possible. For instance, maybe a virtual event such as an online cricket forum later in the year with, Covid permitting, a cocktail party in the spring. We will fully explore such possibilities and let you know.
We were able to hold our Awards Panel meeting in April, albeit via Zoom, and despite the lack of foreseeable cricket at the time, we agreed to make the following awards –
The Panel kept their options open to make further awards in the event of cricket activity resuming, both in the cases of scholarships and blind cricket.
Lord’s Test Match Tickets
It is obviously very disappointing that no cricket has been played at Lord’s this summer and refunds are in the process of being made for those who purchased tickets. However, I am sure you will appreciate that with all the staff at the office working from home and some furloughed, the repayments are taking a bit longer than usual.
Best wishes and I hope that at least we get some live cricket to watch soon.
Secretary of The Johnners Trust