Further recognition for the men behind Victory Ground project

UNSUNG HEROES: Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club's David Barker and Paul Whittaker (Picture: Keith Mindham Photography)
UNSUNG HEROES: Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club's David Barker and Paul Whittaker (Picture: Keith Mindham Photography)

David Barker and Paul 
Whittaker have received their second award of the year for their involvement in the 
Victory Ground project.

The Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club duo were victorious in the unsung hero category in the St Edmundsbury Sports Awards back in September and followed up that triumph with success in the same category in the Suffolk Sports Awards on Friday night.

Barker and Whittaker have been working hard behind the scenes for the last six years to oversee the planning and 
development of the new pavilion at the Victory Ground in Bury.

This ground-breaking partnership involved the cricket club joining forces with South Lee School, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Sporting 87 Football Club to transform the venue.

Barker, the president of the club, has spent many years volunteering even though it clashes with harvest season and this year alone he has raised thousands of pounds in sponsorship, is at the club supporting every weekend, held junior coaching nights, manned the car park, organised the club golf day and the club dinner.

Whittaker is the chairman of the club and has led the club in a difficult season in terms of cricket play, fundraising and the building project.

He works behind the bar, chairs meetings, rolls the pitch at lunch break, visits other clubs to see how they operate successfully and has negotiated the ECB grant that has helped make the work on the new pavilion possible.

Ultraman Alan Macpherson, also from Bury, was sports personality of the year at the St Edmundsbury Awards and added to his collection of trophies by picking up the triumph over adversity accolade at the Suffolk awards.

Despite suffering from Crohn’s Disease, he became the first British athlete, and only sixth in the world, to conquer all three Ultraman competitions.

An Ultraman event consists of a six-mile swim followed by a 260-mile bike ride and a 52-mile run over three days.

Stowmarket High School’s and West Suffolk Athletics Club’s Harry Hughes — last year’s St Edmundsbury young sports personality of the year — was the winner of this year’s young sports personality of the year at the county awards.

Sporting 87’s James Price was also named the young community volunteer of the year and Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club’s Gavin Hogg followed up his coach of the year win in the St Edmundsbury Awards by clinching success in the same category at the Suffolk event.