Croydon cricket coach makes it on King Charles Honours list

Asad Butt was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) by His Majesty for his work with young people at a cricket club in Thornton Heath.

The 54-year-old organises cricket weekly with Chance to Shine and has been doing so for more than a decade.

Asad told Your Local Guardian: “We provide a good platform where they can come and socialise and spend quality time.

“And we help them learn new skills as well, while they’re there.”

Asad is a level three coach from ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), and he explained that the idea was to allow youngsters to come join the club to excel at several things.

He said: “It would take youngsters off the street and it will provide them with a new skill set, and improve their soft skills.”

In doing so, Asad and the organisation are dealing with nearly 250 children every week.

Asad took the initiative several years ago when he claimed he had no support from any charities.

Asad explained: “We hired a little ground, we went to B&Q and picked up a few plywood sheets.

“We then put them on the ground and made an artificial pitch.

“And it gradually took off from there.”

After the cricket club became more and more popular, Chance to Shine found out about them, and since then they’ve been helping Asad to organise those cricket sessions every week.

Asad and his wife Bilquis went to Buckingham Palace on May 8 where they joined several others to meet Their Majesties.

Asad said his favourite royal is the King himself, saying: “He’s amazing, and some of the work which I’m doing for charity is similar to the initiatives that the King has taken himself.

“He really inspires me.”

This is not Asad’s first award.

In 2022, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed Asad on the Points of Light awards list, but Asad said he was not aware at the time that this was considered an official award.

Asad said: “It was quite a good thing for me to have, and then I was asked to carry the torch for the Commonwealth Games.

“I think I was very humbled with the recognition, but when the King’s Honours List came up, I was totally shocked.”

The BEM award recognises Asad’s charity work that he does on the side of his full-time job at the International Rescue Committee.

He added: “Recognition is always a nice thing to have, but I wasn’t expecting it at royalty level.

“I was recognised for something that I do on the side: helping youngsters and youths in the Croydon area to help them develop.”

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