A MAN described as an "unsung hero" in his community has been awarded a Pride of Gwent Award.

Ian Baber has been awarded the Pride of Gwent Lifetime Achievement Award for the years of service he has given the cricket world.

He said: “It was a surprise and I am delighted to get the award. It was out of the blue and I almost thought the email I received was a spoof, but then I realised it was genuine and I was overwhelmed.”

He was nominated for the voluntary work he does and the role he has in reshaping cricket in Wales, and the enormous amount of work he carries out at Panteg Cricket Club.

Mr Baber moved to Griffithstown when he was 10 and has been a part of the cricket club since he was a teenager.

At the age of 13 travelled with the first team and completed the score book for the team as they visited other clubs in Wales, Somerset and Gloucestershire

He played cricket in his youth and later became an umpire.

He said: “I took up umpiring in 1982 and I did the exams. I was one of the first people to pass the exams in south Wales.”

The 68-year-old worked as British Steel in Rica, Newport, Caldicot and Crosskeys and would spend his weekends and evening at the cricket grounds.

He became head groundsman, a position he holds to this day, and has helped the club host county cricket junior Wales games.

Other roles he held include treasurer of the Three Counties League, secretary of the Monmouthshire cricket association, treasurer of the newly formed East Wales league as well as compiling fixtures for them including the Welsh conference leagues and also became chairman of Monmouthshire umpires association.

He is now chairman of the selection committee for Panteg Cricket Club, chief grounds inspector for the South Wales Premiere League and chairman of their disciplinary committee.

“I have enjoyed being a part of Panteg Cricket Club”, he said, “and enjoy being part of the club and maintain its high standards. I generally look after the grounds and there is nothing more pleasurable than having it look nice before cricketers arrive.

“Cricket has given me a lot of satisfaction over years. I love the game and I hope to sustain it and not just within the club, it’s nice to think I have made a contribution to keep sport going club and regional level."

Pride of Gwent award winners who will be celebrated at an awards ceremony which will be held on the afternoon on May 25 in the Coldra Court Hotel where the overall Pride of Gwent winner for 2018 will be announced.

To find out more about the awards and the winners visit southwalesargus.co.uk/prideofgwent

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