Selfless cricket stalwarts Christopher Dempsey, Arthur ‘Artie’ Owen, the late Allan Connolly and John Melrose have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List for their contribution to cricket and the community.
Dempsey, Owen and Connolly were all recognised for service to cricket with a Medal in the General Division (OAM), while Melrose received his OAM for service to the community through multiple local groups in the Batlow area in the South West Slopes region of the state.
Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon thanked the quartet for their service, saying all four men deserved every bit of recognition they received for their tireless contributions to cricket and their local areas.
“The Queen’s Birthday Honours List gives us a chance to recognise and thank some of the incredibly important volunteers right across our cricket family,” Germon said.
“Our sport is indebted to all of them.
“I am extremely proud to see Christopher Dempsey, Arthur Owen, the late Allan Connolly and John Melrose honoured for their service to cricket and their communities.
“Christopher, Artie, Allan and John have done so much for our game and the communities they have worked and lived in. They have had a significant impact on many and I am sure I am not alone in thanking them for everything they have done.
“There is little doubt they have all inspired many, many people to play and love cricket through their efforts.”
Dempsey, 84 and retired at Manning Point on the Mid North Coast, has been involved with cricket since he moved to Australia from England when he was 16.
He is still on the Manning DJCA committee and is the groundsman for the turf wicket at the Chris Dempsey Field at Old Bar - the ground named in his honour more than a decade ago for his contributions as a coach and administrator.
"It's a surprise, a shock really,'' he told the Manning River Times of the OAM.
"I don't think anyone does these things for the rewards. Being involved with cricket is reward enough in itself.''
Owen is a doyen of the game in Tocumwal, a town in the southern Riverina region of the state near the Victorian border.
He played for more than 30 years from 1955 at the Tocumwal CC and has given his time generously as a coach, umpire, curator, administrator and team manager ever since.
Connolly received his award posthumously less than two years after his death. He was a Life Member of the Campbelltown City JCC, Campbelltown City SCC and the Campbelltown Camden DCC.
For 26 years Connolly was the welcoming face for every NSW Premier Cricket club and umpire that visited the Raby Sports Complex as part of Match Day Operations for the Campbelltown-Camden club.
He also made a huge contribution developing women’s teams at the Campbelltown-Camden Ghosts and was a strong supporter of Women’s Premier Cricket.