A former Royal Navy veteran, who is a Shropshire County Cricket Club committee member, has been bowled over by the support he has received from The Royal British Legion and other military charities to raise funds for a new bespoke electrical wheelchair that will aid him to umpire cricket matches in Shropshire.
John McIntear, 62, from Telford, was awarded grant funding totalling £8,500 to acquire a suitable wheelchair that would allow him to officiate T20 cricket matches with the help of The Royal British Legion’s West Midlands team.
Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, John, pictured, wanted to ensure that his illness didn’t impact on his ability to umpire and although he is unable to stand for long periods, with the help of a new bespoke chair he can now carry on overseeing the game that he loves.
John – who is responsible for player registration for Shropshire CCC – disclosed that not only will he benefit from the electrical wheelchair, but it will aid other similarly disabled individuals who wish to officiate in a wide variety of sports.
A member of the Shropshire Association of Cricket Officials, John believes that he is the only cricket umpire in the world to use an electric wheelchair.
Completely stumped by the overwhelming support he has received, John explained how he secured his new wheelchair, ahead of officiating his first match in his new chair at Worfield Cricket Club this Thursday.
“Cricket has always been a part of my life and when I contacted the Royal British Legion’s West Midlands team they were keen to aid me in acquiring this chair,” he said.
“I was assigned a wonderful case officer and they helped me from the outset to secure an initial grant from the Legion of £1,500 and in addition, the Shropshire county branch of the Legion donated £500 towards the fund.
“They then supported me in reaching out to other charities, including Motability who put a staggering £4,000 towards the target total, and without the determination of the Legion’s team, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.”
John is also very grateful to the general public and members of his local community in securing the funding for the project.
“They have been fantastic in supporting me with my desire to continue being a part of the sport I love, and I can’t wait to get out on the field and put the new equipment to the test!”
Royal British Legion West Midlands Area Manager, Jane Britton, said: “We work very closely with other military charities and local authorities to put forward the case of our beneficiaries and we are delighted that our influence and strong connections in the region has led to John being able to take delivery of his new electric wheelchair in August.
“John’s case has been one of drive and determination and his desire and passion to continue his role in cricket, regardless of his illness, has inspired us as a team to support him through his OT assessment and procurement of an appropriate chair.
“We can’t wait to see John out on the field, and we hope his story inspires others to seek help and advice from the Royal British Legion in future.”
John added: “I would encourage anyone seeking support to speak with the Legion. They were able to part-fund my chair and signpost me to other charities I never knew could help me – they were a real all-rounder!”
For more information about support, please contact The Royal British Legion on 0808 802 8080 or visit the website www.britishlegion.org.uk for further details.