Plymouth Civil Service & Roborough CC's (PCS&RCC) Helen Smith has been recognised nationally following her work for the club over the past 47 years.

The Lifetime Achiever Award celebrates an individual who has given many years of service to their club, someone their club could not do without. In her nomination, Helen was described as a "lifeline of the club in difficult times” and her dedication to the club "inspiring."

"It was a big shock, but it actually made me feel really proud and honoured," Helen said about winning the award.

"I didn't even know I'd been nominated for the Devon award, so it came as a bit of a shock. It was more of a shock to get the email from the ECB, because I actually thought someone was taking the mickey! It didn't really register for 24 hours, but I'm chuffed and very, very honoured."

Helen Smith with her ECB Lifetime Achiever Award.

Looking back at how she got involved in cricket, Helen says "it all started when I was 17. My husband, who was my boyfriend then, played cricket for Plymouth YMCA. I started scoring, doing teas... if the local reverend was late after a wedding I'd go on as a fielder until he arrived!"

Helen moved to Plymouth Civil Service CC along with her husband, where she did a couple of stints as both club secretary and club treasurer. When the club amalgamated with Roborough CC in 2010, Helen was asked to take on the role of club secretary once again.

"It coincided with when I actually retired. I got asked to be secretary, which I was honoured for being asked, to be quite honest."

Her dedication to the club developed from there: "I became Welfare Officer, the Parish representative for the club, I've painted pavilions, manually forked the square and numerous other jobs. You name it, I think I've done it!"

Helen also got involved in coaching cricket, running the club's All Stars programme for the first three years which ended up starting the colts section at PCS&RCC: "I loved every bit of it, I loved seeing the kids develop. Both clubs, before the amalgamation, had lost their colts sections, so it was a brilliant kickstart. It has evolved brilliantly, and we now have U15s, U13s and two U11s, and the numbers are increasing all the time." Alongside winning the ECB award, Helen describes setting up the All Stars programme as the achievement she is proudest of in her time at the club.

Last year, Helen also managed to set up an inaugural women and girls' softball cricket evening at the club: "It was only the one session, but we had 18 women and girls, aged from 17 to 67, and that's brilliant. Hopefully, that's going to carry on in the future".

With Helen taking a step back and retiring as club secretary, she is now looking forward to enjoying her cricket: "I am sort of known as the lady that walks around the boundary non-stop and I'd like to be doing that a bit more instead of trying to catch somebody to say 'can we do this, can we do that'. I will carry on doing some [volunteering], just not quite such a prestigious role. It's time for somebody new."