National awards recognition for cricket-loving Unity board member

Popular Unity Homes and Enterprise board member Abdul Ravat has added to his lengthy list of achievements after being named runner-up in the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) ‘Heartbeat of the Club’ category at a prestigious awards ceremony held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the spiritual home of the game.

Abdul lifted the Yorkshire OSCA (Outstanding Services to Cricket Award) in the same category at Headingley Stadium this summer and was then shortlisted for the national award by the ECB.

Although narrowly missing out at Lord’s, Abdul was delighted that his nomination had provided a wonderful opportunity to highlight the good work being done with the community at his beloved Mount Cricket Club in Batley.  

  Abdul Ravat (right) at Lord’s with England Test star Stuart Broad (centre) and Unity chief executive Ali Akbor (left)

Abdul Ravat (right) at Lord’s with England Test star Stuart Broad (centre) and Unity chief executive Ali Akbor (left)

The club was established in 1976 by two enthusiastic young cricketers Hanif Mayet – who remains its chairman - and the late Farid Karolia.  Since then, it has progressed through various Yorkshire leagues and won many friends and supporters along the way.

Last year, Mount Cricket Club played a special inter-faith T20 match at Headingley against St Peter’s XI of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Vatican’s official cricket team made up of Rome-based priests and seminarians.  The game was preceded by Unity’s Annual General Meeting which was addressed by Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford and Mark Arthur, chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Abdul was joined at the London awards ceremony by Ali Akbor, chief executive of Leeds-based Unity Homes and Enterprise, who submitted his nomination.

Ali said: “It was a great privilege to visit the spiritual home of cricket and have the chance to meet some of the country’s best known cricketing names including fast bowler Stuart Broad, England one-day captain Eoin Morgan and Mike Gatting who is now Chairman of the MCC’s World Cricket Committee.

“But most importantly, it was a pleasure to celebrate Abdul’s achievement.  As well as providing high quality affordable homes and stimulating social and economic regeneration, Unity works hard to bring people together in the communities we serve. 

“Abdul’s commitment to promoting and delivering a more cohesive society is what makes him such a vital member of our board.  His boundless energy and ability to spread positivity though his ever-growing range of voluntary activities are a great credit to him.  His OSCA recognition is very well deserved.”

Mark Arthur, chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the outstanding community work of Mount Cricket Club’s Abdul Ravat in Batley, has been recognised nationally.  To win the award in Yorkshire was an achievement in itself as we have so many fantastic volunteers within our 780 cricket clubs.”

  Yorkshire County Cricket Club chief executive Mark Arthur (left) presents Abdul Ravat with his Yorkshire OSCA

Yorkshire County Cricket Club chief executive Mark Arthur (left) presents Abdul Ravat with his Yorkshire OSCA

Hanif Mayet, chairman of Mount Cricket Club said: “Both Mount and Unity exist to serve their communities and have been doing this for 40 and 30 years respectively.  I never believed back in 1976, when the club began that the work of our volunteers would be recognised at the highest level in the game we all love.  Abdul has combined his passions for housing and cricket and the Light of Faith Tour enabled us all to celebrate the joy when communities, faiths and people come together.  All of us at the Club are deeply humbled."

Tracy Brabin, Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, said: “I am so happy for my friend Abdul and this award is so very welcome. Since becoming the MP for my home town a year ago, I've had the privilege of getting to know Abdul and Hanif and others at Mount Cricket Club and I've seen how dedicated Abdul is to ensuring cricket is truly a sport for all. The people of Batley and Spen are extremely lucky to have him as their sporting champion.”