Mike's contribution to Thornbury cricket remembered
MIKE Collett’s towering contribution to club cricket has been celebrated with the dedication of a memorial bench at Thornbury.
Mike, who died last year, was a former youth chairman, treasurer, chairman and life member at the club, and also a founding member of Bristol Phoenix, which played a major role in the development of female players.
Bristol Phoenix, established in 2008 as a three-way partnership between Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury and Shirehampton, presented the bench in a ceremony attended by Mike's widow Jenny and son Andy.
Thornbury president Les Summerfield said: “Mike came to Thornbury in 1989 whilst in the twilight of his own playing career. We did not know it at the time, but a giant of grassroots cricket had just walked through our door.
“He was one of the most prominent and influential club members Thornbury have ever had. He had joined the club not for his benefit but for ours: we were truly blessed."
Mike, who also had spells as second and third team captain, won the Wicks Cup, for outstanding service, in 1998 and 2003.
He was also key in opening negotiations with Tockington Manor School, securing the use of a 3rd/4th XI ground for Thornbury and a grant for the pavilion which stands there today.
Along with Ian Moss, John Harris and Andy Shield, Mike was a driving force behind the formation of Bristol Phoenix.
Former Phoenix coach Steve Forecast said: “At the time girls and women were not getting enough, if any, club cricket.
“Mike was instrumental in the building of a junior section, visiting many schools and convincing the Bristol Youth League to let girls' teams enter ‘a year down’.
“The profile of women’s cricket grew, with the Phoenix playing a major role and Mike leading. He managed to get people to do things. Sometimes stern, assertive, persuasive but always gentle with the expectation that things would be done properly.
“There are now around 20 clubs with female sections and players are accepted into open teams on merit, all built on a foundation and example set by Bristol Phoenix.
“It’s fitting that this bench in his memory is placed here at Thornbury, especially when we see the number of girls training in the junior section.”