Abbeywood schoolgirl Rachel Arberry has won a national award for her dedication to the StreetChance inner-city cricket initiative.
The 13-year-old received the Outstanding Young Leader award from former England player, Ebony Rainford-Brent during a star-studded ceremony at the world famous Lord’s cricket ground.
Rachel picked up the prize for the positive and infectious attitude she has displayed at her local StreetChance session in Filton.
The all-girls project is run by the Gloucestershire Cricket Board and was the first of its type to be held outside London.
The girls play a shortened version of the game called Street20 that consists of 20-ball-a-side matches using a tennis ball wrapped in tape.
And have since gone on to play for Bristol in this format, with Rachael captaining the team.
Speaking at the StreetChance Annual Achievement Awards, Rachel said: “I was surprised to win, I didn’t know it was coming. I take great pride in captaining my team and it’s a nice way for the whole of the team to be recognised.”
The GCB also runs six other StreetChance projects – five in Bristol and two in Cheltenham which are open to boys and girls alike
To encourage girls to attend the Filton project the GCB funds a coach from Bristol City Football Club to attend the sessions at Abbeywoood school in order to offer football as well as cricket.
But StreetChance coach Peter Lamb says it is Rachel that has done more than anyone else to raise the popularity of the sessions.
He said: “Rachel is the glue that keeps the group together. She has promoted a real sense of camaraderie among the girls and her enthusiasm and energy has been infectious.
“Rachel had never played cricket before coming to these sessions but she is always willing to learn and has been a real inspiration to the other girls.”
At the awards in London Rachel was able to run shoulders with the likes of England cricketer Ravi Bopara and BBC presenter Manish Bhasin who was host for the evening.
StreetChance is an inner-city cricket initiative run in partnership between the Cricket Foundation and Barclays which uses cricket to offer positive experiences for young people in deprived inner-city areas.