A CRICKET coach with severe sight loss who has been awarded for his work said he is just ‘doing what he enjoys’ and ‘wants to encourage independence’ for people who are visually impaired.

Martin Wilson, of Athersley, was awarded coach of the year by both the Yorkshire and English Cricket Board, for his work teaching children as young as five to adults as old as 76.

Martin has had severe sight loss since he was born and has played visually impaired cricket for most of his life, joining the visually impaired cricket club in 2014.

He went on to do a coaching course in 2016 and since then has helped new players in the regional development team, as well as coaching children of all ages across schools in the Yorkshire area.

The 57-year-old said he was shocked to receive the award, but also felt ‘a bit embarrassed’.

“I’m just doing what I enjoy really,” said Martin. “It’s my fifth year of coaching but I’m just a normal person and I’ve been visually impaired for most of my life. It really is my normality.

“My coaching isn’t just about the sport itself, it is also letting the children know that they can do so much with their lives even if they are visually impaired. It’s not just sport, it’s well-being as well. It’s also my well-being. It’s all about delivering this, whether I am any good or not, schools I teach at keep asking me back so I must be alright at least.”

As well as coaching visually impaired cricket, Martin also does talks abut visual impairment, to build understanding and awareness. He also enjoys working with individual players, helping to improve their individual cricket skill and helping them to develop.

“If I can help those who are visually impaired to achieve something, it’s what I want to do,” said Martin.

“I want to give my thanks to the Vision Foundation who paid for me to get the coaching certificates. I’ll be carrying on keeping on what I’m doing for a while yet.”