Howzat! Terminally ill Shropshire cricket umpire launches £15,000 charity bid for electric wheelchair - with video
"I'm still smiling and I'm still strong," declares Telford cricket umpire John McIntear who has terminal lung cancer, diabetes and cannot stand up for long periods. But he's not letting health issues keep him off the crease.
He has launched a £15,000 appeal towards a bespoke electric wheelchair costing about £7,000 and a mobility car to transport it to matches across Shropshire where he is well known in the sport.
The 61-year-old , who formerly served in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, has several bookings for matches and tournaments next summer, but needs financial support to cover the cost of the new wheelchair so he can attend events.
Mr McIntear, says: "In June 2018 I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my prognosis was I was given six to 10 months to live.
Watch our video interview:
"I'm a qualified umpire. What I intend to do is to continue umpiring in 2020 and hopefully beyond, but obviously I can't stand for a long period of time. Therefore I'm in the process of raising funds to be able to get a powered wheelchair and use on the field and also get the vehicle that I would need to transport it.
"The main thing is that this wouldn't only benefit myself, but other people who wish to officiate in sport who are not able to because they are not physically able to get around. That's why I have started the GoFundMe page. That's why I'm trying to raise money.
"I will hopefully be out on the cricket field from April until the end of the season with county cricket on the disabled side. That's what I'm really looking forward to.
"My mental capacity is still at an extremely high level for cricket umpiring and I wish to continue my love of cricket and the joy I get from the game."
He explains that ongoing chemotherapy has reduced his ability to stand up for lengthy periods and that a powered wheelchair which help him to be in the right place at the right time in the field.
"I started off at nine years old down at Hampshire. My trainer was a guy called Trevor Jesty, who played for Hampshire in the 1960s who became an umpire.
"I became an umpire many years ago and I wish to continue and for people in other sports who wish to continue in the game that they love
"We're are looking for many, more umpires from right across the age groups to take us forward to the future and that's my inspiration
"I have a phrase that I've used since from the very start of my cancer treatment - I'm still smiling and I'm still strong."
Mr McIntear is also in the process of contacting companies and individuals for support.
He is a committee member of the England and Wales Cricket Board(ECB) Shropshire Association of Cricket Officials, a qualified and registered umpire, member of the Shropshire County Cricket Club Committee and is responsible for the registration of county players. He has previously officiated in premiership and first division matches in Shropshire County Cricket League, youth, disability and school matches including the annual Shrewsbury Schools Cricket Festival and the ECB Ladies Cricket Recreational Development Festival.
To donate visit gofundme.com/f/disabled-officiating-from-a-powered-weelchair
Mr McIntear, of Spring Meadow, Madeley, is married to Tracey, 50, and has children Amy 29, Hannah, 25, Kerry 21, Emily 19, Katherine, 15, and Callum, 12.
Before he retired last year he worked as an enforcement officer with West Midlands Probation Service in Wolverhampton.
He is also working on a development project on safety gear for umpires following the death of an official in Wales following a match incident earlier this year.