Fylde CC’s Lawton is top of the order!

Graham Lawton with his lifetime achievement award at the Lancashire Sports Awards
Graham Lawton with his lifetime achievement award at the Lancashire Sports Awards

Fifty years not out and still going strong! Graham Lawton has been rewarded for his unstinting service to Fylde Cricket Club.

To mark all his hard work as the club’s loyal Jack-of-all-trades, Lawton was honoured at the Lancashire Sports Awards with a lifetime achievement prize.

He received his award from former Blackpool FC and England captain Jimmy Armfield at the ceremony held at the De Vere Herons Reach hotel in Blackpool, beating off opposition from an impressive list of nominees from all over the county.

There is hardly a job Lawton hasn’t done at Poulton-based Fylde CC. He played into his 60s and only finished last year.

Now 62, Lawton, whose cv is as long as it is impressive, came through the junior ranks to captain the first XI.

He has played an enormous part in junior development, a system which is the envy of rival clubs in the Palace Shield.

Off the field, Lawton’s in-put has been just as key.

In his role as treasurer, he has ensured that the club has developed while remaining in the black, and he was the driving force in ensuring the club received an English Cricket Board grant to refurbish the clubhouse and changing rooms in 2009.

A qualified coach and umpire, his skills as a groundsman have meant that the Lancashire Cricket Board regularly use the Poulton venue for finals.

Lawton, who has even been known to prepare the teams’ food on the odd occasion, said of the award: “It was a surprise. My wife said that when my name was announced it didn’t drop for 10 minutes!

“Whatever I have done, I have done it for enjoyment and it’s nice to be recognised for something that I have enjoyed doing.

“It has been an important part of my life and I have made a lot of friends, not just at Fylde but at other clubs.” Nigel Rhodes, a Fylde committee member, paid his own tribute.

He said: “Graham has become the senior statesman of the club to whom we go if any problems arise.

“Graham’s love for the club means he always takes his holidays out of the cricket season, so he is always available to umpire for the second team and prepare the ground.”

Lawton says he intends to continue to be actively involved at Fylde, where the clubhouse was little more than a rudimentary shed when he first played there as a lad.

“We have a good crop of youngsters coming through and they are the lifeblood of the club for the future,” he said.