An Interview with Frank Wilkinson
Paul Edwards talks to Frank Wilkinson of Morecambe CC who recently was presented with the NatWest OSCAs Lifetime Achievement Award.
When Morecambe CC's Frank Wilkinson first visited Lord's he was a ten-year-old boy accompanying his father to the 1951 Rugby League Cup Final and squeezing in a visit to the home of cricket en route.
Wilkinson's next trip to St John's Wood took place last Monday (22 October) when he was presented with a lifetime achievement OSCA (Outstanding Service to Cricket Award) by Mike Gatting to honour over half a century's devoted work for the game.
Needless to say, the dignitaries at the ECB made rather more of a fuss of their Lancastrian guest on his second visit and Wilkinson appreciated the occasion to the full.
"It was absolutely marvellous and I still feel very grateful ," he said. "We were given a full tour of Lord's, including the Long Room and the Media Centre, and then we went in to lunch which was held in the pavilion on the Nursery Ground.
"The Master of Ceremonies for the event itself was Jonathan Agnew, and Hugh Morris, the Managing Director of England Cricket was also presenting awards. After lunch there were photographs taken and interviews for Sky TV.
"Well, cricket has been a major part of my life but I still feel a little shocked and disbelieving of it all to a degree."
Yet for all that he was gratified to receive that lifetime achiever accolade, Wilkinson is a modest, unassuming man who never says too much about any honour he might about to receive. His record at Woodhill Lane, though, made him an outstanding candidate to receive the trophy.
In addition to playing for Morecambe's first team and serving on the committee as secretary, Wilkinson has given countless evenings to coaching young players and has played a pivotal role in the growth of junior cricket at the club.
And once he had returned from London, the 71-years-young enthusiast was very firm about his future plans.
"I'm going to carry on coaching," he said. "I still coach cricket, football and netball at Westgate Primary School, and I always say that as long as the legs keep going, I'll keep going.
"A friend joked with me that the only reason why I win these awards is that I've been coaching longer than anyone else and I suppose there's some truth in that.
"But I believe that there's a Frank Wilkinson in every club in this area and I like to see the award I received on Monday as an honour for everyone in north Lancashire."
Written by: Paul Edwards
Image provided Getty Images: Frank Wilkinson receiving his award from Mike Gatting (ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships), Clare Connor (ECB Head or England Women’s Cricket) and Hugh Morris (ECB Managing Direct of England Cricket).