An inspirational dad who is in a wheelchair after suffering spinal injuries in a workplace accident is helping children play cricket.
Martin Forster spends up to five hours a week coaching youngsters at Wirksworth and Middleton Cricket Club.
And to honour his service to the community, he has been invited to launch Derby's biggest fireworks display this weekend.
Martin, 53, said: “I’ve been watching cricket for the last nineteen years and haven’t been able to play but being part of something with young kids and watching them develop their love for the sport has been a joy and delight.”
He was left with extreme mobility problems after the accident in 2000 and needs a wheelchair for the rest his life.
Friends and family encouraged him to be involved in his local cricket club where he became an All Stars Activator creating a fun and inclusive environment for children and parents.
He now uses a sports wheelchair, paid for by a fundraiser run by the club and donations from friends.
“The new wheelchair allowed me to take part in something which I thought I would never be able to do again,” said Martin, a stay-at-home dad. “Over these past six months, it’s given me an opportunity to be involved in cricket again.”
In recognition of his efforts, Martin was recently presented with the 2019 Junior All Stars Activator for Derbyshire award by the Derbyshire County Cricket Board.
And he will launch Derby’s biggest fireworks display on Sunday, November 3, hosted by Derbyshire County Cricket Club at the Pattonair County Ground. By his side will be wife Katie, a deputy head teacher at a primary school in Derby, and their children Martha, 11, Theo, nine, and seven-year-old Joss.
Martin said: "We are absolutely thrilled. It’s nice to be a part of something like this - and it’s a great opportunity for my kids.”
The county cricket club partners with Pattonair to stage the fireworks display. Pattonair’s chief executive Wayne Hollinshead said: “It is compelling to see how much Martin's time spent volunteering at the cricket club means to him. At Pattonair we are always looking for ways to encourage children to take up sporting activities. This underlines our commitment to build strong ties with the local community and more importantly, it is a way to celebrate those who do so much unsung work in serving their communities.”
Ryan Duckett, chief executive of Derbyshire County Cricket Club said, “With their commitment to the Derby community, Pattonair enabled hundreds of school children to attend cricket matches in summer. They are the main partner in our annual Fireworks Night and Fun Fair which has grown year-on-year to become the largest display in the city."
As well as the spectacular fireworks display, visitors will be able to enjoy fairground attractions, entertainment and music. The gates will open at 4pm.