A CRICKET club stalwart was bowled over when he was presented with a civic award in recognition of his community service.

For three decades, Mel Groves has been a key figure at Spennymoor Cricket Club.

Starting as a player, Mr Groves was first team captain for many years and has held numerous positions since– including club chairman for more than ten years.

He has overseen the introduction of youth coaching and helped the club grow and enter two teams in the Darlington & District League for the first time in almost 20 years.

He has also helped strengthen links between the club and wider community, including fundraising for local charities through the annual Michael Bulmer Memorial Day.

Most recently he has been instrumental in the club’s ongoing recovery from a devastating arson attack on the pavilion last July, for which the committee has raised more than £11,000.

This week, at a Spennymoor Town Council meeting, he received a Scroll of Honour from the Mayor of Spennymoor Clive Maddison.

Councillor Ian Geldard, president of the club, nominated Mr Groves for the award.

He said: “Mel has dedicated almost his entire adult life to the success of Spennymoor Cricket Club, across a duration of over 30 years. Spennymoor Cricket Club is an ancient organisation which owes its existence in 2019 in large part to Mel’s hard work, and the support he receives from his wife Hilary, his family and the club committee.Mel is a true gentleman who works tirelessly for this community and for the Spennymoor Cricket Club. He is loved and respected by so many in the town, and I have never heard a bad word said about him. I can think of fewer men more deserving of receiving a Scroll of Honour from this council.”

Mr Groves said: “I just love the place, it is fantastic as are the people there– lots of them will have been there 25-plus years and also work hard. I’ve done every job there at some point from making teas, washing up and cutting the grass to chairman.I’m chuffed with this scroll.”