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Spitfire flying after top gong at Wycombe awards night
MALCOLM Barwick hit a home run at the Wycombe District Sports Awards last week.
The 65-year-old president of the Spitfires Baseball Club in Wycombe won the Lifetime Achiever Award after more than 55 years dedicated to the sport.
He said: “The surprise was unbelievable, it took me aback.
“I looked at the other nominees and thought, ‘how can I compete against these people?’ “But 55 years is a long time to be involved in one sport. I played competitively until I got an illness when I was 22 which stopped me playing, and since then I’ve been coaching and training and umpiring. It’s the next best thing.
“It becomes your life so to get this award is jaw-dropping.”
Barwick helped found Spitfires with his son Callum last year, and before that spent 20 years with the London Youth Baseball League, also based at Daws Hill.
He said: “I’ve been with the LYBL for more than 20 years. I’ve coached, trained, umpired, managed, been president, been vice president...
“Whatever’s there to do, I go along a do it and during the season I’ll umpire six matches a weekend.
“It becomes part of your life and you make so many good friends. Where-ever you go around the world you will meet people with some connection with the London Youth Baseball League in Wycombe.
“Between 300 and 500 kids play every year but we want to boost baseball in the area and really put it on the map.”
Barwick wasn’t the only big winner on the night.
Paralympic skier Ben Sneesby won the Sir Steve Redgrave Sports Bursary, picking up £1,500 which will go towards his bid of getting to the Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014.
Pippa Woolven and Will John were second and third in that category, earning £750 and £500 between them.
Among the other winners, Wycombe Hockey Club was named Club of the Year largely on the success of their U18 boys, who won indoor and outdoor national titles last season.
Battledore Badminton Club and Marlow Rowing Club were also on the shortlist, while badminton coach Fran Stone was named coach of the year.