Cricket is a sport that has produced many talented players who have left an indelible mark on the game. Among them is local legend Alan Igglesden, a former cricketer who represented both Kent and England during his career. Publishing Editor Steve Rowley, looks back on his life, career, and notable achievements, and the charity that followed his untimely passing in 2021.
Alan Igglesden was born in the village of Farnborough in Kent in 1964. His love of cricket started at school where as a teenager he played for his home town, Westerham Cricket Club. His pacey seam bowling shone at the age of 19, as he was instrumental in the club retaining its North Kent League title in 1983, when he then caught the eye of the county.
Early life and cricketing journey
From an early age, he exhibited a passion for cricket and honed his skills in the local club circuits. His exceptional abilities as a fast bowler quickly caught the attention of talent scouts, and he was soon recruited by the Kent County Cricket Club.
Alan progressed to join Sevenoaks based Holmesdale Cricket Club and made his first-class Kent County cricket debut in July 1986 against Somerset at Mote Park in Maidstone.
Alan quickly made an impact with his blistering pace and ability to swing the ball both ways. His consistent performances earned him a reputation as one of the most promising fast bowlers in English cricket. In the 1988 season, he played a pivotal role in helping Kent secure the County Championship title.
He played with Kent until August 1998 making 283 appearances, taking 592 first-class and List A wickets; he took 50 first-class wickets in a season four times, and recorded 19 five wicket hauls and two ten wicket matches.
England come a calling
In 1989 he took 90 wickets in 42 matches and was awarded his county cap and England came calling.
His impressive performances at the domestic level did not go unnoticed, and Alan received his call-up to the national team in 1989 of the Test match against Australia, where he showcased his raw pace and ability to generate movement off the pitch. Despite facing a formidable Australian line-up, Alan’s skill and determination earned him recognition as a player of immense potential, and he took three wickets in that game.
Alan was then selected for the England A tour to Zimbabwe in the winter of 1989/90 where he was the leading wicket taker including five for 33 in the final unofficial test match of the tour.
England would not come knocking again until the summer of 1993 when Alan was picked for the first Test, again against Australia.
It appeared he may have had a few games to prove his worth but injury scuppered the comeback. Once fully recovered, Alan was picked to tour the West Indies, playing in two Test Matches and four One Day Internationals. This was to be his final foray onto the international scene.
Whilst playing for Kent Alan often “wintered” in South Africa playing first class cricket for Western Province and Boland and later at Avendale.
Whenever he took the field, he exhibited a whole-hearted approach and left a lasting impression with his passion for the game.
Retirement and life beyond cricket
Due to his recurring injuries, Alan was forced to retire from professional cricket in 1996 at the age of 31, departing Kent in 1994 after taking 592 wickets for the county.
However, his impact on Kent cricket remained significant, and he continued to be involved in coaching and mentoring young talents in the region. His wealth of experience and knowledge became invaluable in nurturing the next generation of cricketers.
Alan was signed by Berkshire to play in the Minor Counties, also affording him the time to become a sports teacher at Sutton Valence School in Maidstone, Kent, where he met Liz whom he later went on to marry and have a daughter, Beth.
It was whilst Alan was playing in a game for Berkshire in 1999 that he suffered a seizure and, after a routine MRI scan, doctors discovered a non-malignant but inoperable brain tumour.
The radiotherapy treatment followed by numerous courses of drugs, reduced the tumour significantly.
Although you would never have known it, Alan’s tumour began to grow again in 2009 leading to two major debilitating strokes in 2018. On 1st November 2021 heart break struck and Alan eventually lost his long-fought battle against the dreadful disease.
During his life he made so many friends and touched so many hearts that Iggy’s Fund was born to ensure his memory never fades and his friendly approach to sport continues to live on in the work of the charity.
During his illness Alan was an ambassador of The Brain Tumour Charity, and with the help of brother Kevin, family, and friends, he raised over £300,000.
The Iggy’s Fund charity aims to promote community participation in healthy recreation, help provide valued funding by way of grants to the most financially challenged young people, so they too can enjoy the life changing benefits of sport, protect the physical and mental health of sufferers of brain tumours, and working with other specialist charities, assist with advancing education and or research in the field of brain tumours.
The overwhelming theme of the charity is to organise and deliver inclusive and friendly events to raise valuable funds.
Their work is only possible thanks to the people, friends of the charity, who help them every day to achieve their vision.
Their board of trustees are individuals who whole-heartedly champion the positive impact that sport can have on both young people’s and adult lives and their patrons and ambassadors come from a variety of backgrounds who all passionately believe in and support their mission, using their profile to help them raise awareness of Iggy’s Fund and spread the word about their work.
Starting with local events and building momentum into national diversified fundraising activities, they hope to grow their income and resources, to build financial sustainability that can help to support the next generation of talented young sports stars, increase participation in community sports events, support those suffering from a brain tumour, and provide funds that will aid the advancement of research into brain tumours.
In time they hope to expand this scope to international fundraising events while staying committed to their core objectives. They have the trustees work with charities, health providers and experts dedicated to brain tumours to act as an advisory board to help agree criteria for different forms of grant funding and sponsorship within this sector.
Their mission at Iggy’s Fund is to enable the memory of Alan to live on in others by raising money to:
1. Sponsor and make grants to individuals and organisations that support the most financially challenged young sports stars looking to overcome cost barriers to fulfil
their potential and be able to enjoy the life-changing benefits of playing sport by helping towards training, equipment and competition costs.
2. Promote community participation in healthy recreation through providing or assisting in or providing training, facilities and equipment for participation in community sports projects and events.
3. Promote and protect the physical and mental health of sufferers of brain tumours through providing or assisting in the provision of equipment, facilities and services ancillary to those provided by health services.
4. Donate to other specialist charities that help to advance education or research in the field of brain tumours.
If you would you like to support the charity, get involved, find out more about what they do, or just want to keep up to date with their fundraising and events, then you can visit their website at iggysfund.com.
Alternatively, if you are organising a fundraising event and need a charity to support, then they’d love to hear from you. Contact Kevin Igglesden at email@example.com.
Local Sports News is a website dedicated to the sporting achievements and news stories for the local communities of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in the UK, incorporating West Kent Sport & Wellbeing magazine.