Modest motivator JOhn nominated in South Holland Health Awards

Cricket coach John Birch has been nominated in the sports category of the awards. ANL-160905-134447001
Cricket coach John Birch has been nominated in the sports category of the awards. ANL-160905-134447001
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Modest motivator John Birch is described as “one of the main junior coaches at the club” and “a major reason why the junior section is flourishing so well”.

The club in question is Spalding Cricket Club and the nomination for Services to Sport in the South Holland Health Awards (see story below) says: “John coached the U9s to an impressive league winning season last year, with the side winning all their games.”

But John says that coaching job was shared with Mark Laud, the academy youth chairman, and the junior section coaching is all about teamwork.

Mark has stayed with the U9s while John is now working with two other coaches taking care of the U11s.

John says: “One is an expert batsman, one is an expert bowler – I would say I am hardly technical at all but I know how to motivate children.”

The father of three has played football, golf and squash but didn’t get into cricket until his sons started playing.

He said: “I thought cricket was the most boring game in the world.”

But elder son T J (13), who plays for the U13s, and younger son Harry (10), who is in the U11s, have managed to grab dad’s interest in the sport as well as enthusing their big sister, Esme (17), and the women in the family.

John said: “I have to say my whole family have become cricket fans.”

He’s now approaching his third season with the club.

John said: “In the club there are something in the region of 15 to 20 coaches, which is very good.

“The youth side is absolutely flourishing, which is fantastic, and we all support one another’s teams. If anyone needs help we shout for it. It’s a friendly, sociable club.”

John works as the landscape manager with Baytree Nurseries and Garden Centre at Weston.

• The first South Holland Health Promotion Day will be held in Spalding next month.

This free to the public event will be at the South Holland Centre on Saturday, June 4, from 10am to 4pm and feature a wide range of information stands, stalls and talks from local healthcare providers.

It will also see the presentation ceremony for the first South Holland Health Awards.

The event is being organised by Tonic Health, in association with South Holland District Council, South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian.

Tonic Health director Michael Morris wanted to create an event which would highlight and celebrate the healthcare provision available to people of South Holland.

The area boasts some fantastic opportunities, support and provision, through the NHS, independent agencies and voluntary organisations, but members of the public are still not necessarily aware of what is on their doorstep.

The Health Promotion Day will feature stands supplied by a range of local healthcare groups offering attendees advice, guidance, support and information.

There will be a variety of health experts providing 30-minute talks throughout the day on a wide variety of health-related issues.

The day will culminate in the Health Awards ceremony, which will start at 3pm. There are four categories:

• Young Carer of the Year;

• Volunteer in healthcare;

• Bravery in the face of adversity;

• Services to sport/exercise.

Public nominations for worthy candidates can be made through filling in the form on this page or via email.

A judging panel will decide on a final three for each category before the event, with the winners being announced on the day.

The whole event is free to attend. The function hall will be the home for the stalls and the Health Awards ceremony, with talks being held in the meeting rooms.

For more public information about the day, please visit

If you are an organisation requiring a stand, please 
contact Sam at Tonic Health on or 01775 725059.

To nominate someone, fill in the form in each week’s Lincoln shire Free Press or Spalding Guardian and send it to HEALTH AWARDS, Free Press and Guardian, Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding PE11 1AB.

Or email with the name of the nominee, the category you are nominating them in and some words explaining why you think they deserve the award.

Please also enter your own name, address and telephone number.