Photograph by The Fostering Network.

Prestigious award for talented cricketer spotted by Freddie Flintoff

A promising young cricketer who was talent-spotted by Freddie Flintoff has won a prestigious Fostering Excellence Award.

Adnan, now 17, captured millions of hearts when he was featured in Freddie's Field of Dreams documentary, which was filmed for the BBC in Preston in July 2022.

While Freddie tried to turn an unlikely group of teenagers into a cricket team, his attention was drawn to Adnan, who is a refugee from Afghanistan. He was so awed by his skill that he appealed for asylum from the government for Adnan, which was granted.

The annual Fostering Excellence Awards are the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards, celebrating outstanding achievements in fostering and recognising those who make exceptional contributions to foster care every day.  

Adnan’s foster parents, Barry and Elaine, who foster for Lancashire County Council, spotted his skill for batting and throwing balls and signed him up to a local cricket team to practice his talent. They are both very proud of Adnan.

Elaine said: "We are enormously proud of Adnan. What he has achieved is beyond anyone's expectations. He is hard-working, kind and considerate and an absolute joy.

"It's very much his award, it's all his hard work. He is very pleased to have won the award."

Adnan, who competes in Lancashire’s under-18s cricket team, was awarded the Fostering Excellence Award, to recognise his outstanding achievements while living in foster care. He was given the accolade at The Fostering Network’s Fostering Excellence Awards in Birmingham on Tuesday, 17 October.

He has been living with his foster carers Elaine and Barry, who foster with Lancashire County Council, from March 2021, after arriving in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeker.

To begin with, Adnan could not speak or understand any English but he is thriving at a private school after securing a scholarship. Now, he is fluent in spoken and written English.

Chloe Jones, Adnan’s supervising social worker, said: "Adnan never ceases to amaze me with his achievements, and unsurprisingly, the whole team are so proud of him.

"His fantastic sense of humour brings us so much joy, and it’s incredible to see him thriving in all areas of his life."

The award ceremony took place at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, hosted by broadcaster, TV presenter and inspirational speaker Ashley John Baptiste, who grew up in care himself. 

The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity.

Sarah Thomas, chief executive of The Fostering Network, added: "This year marks my first Fostering Excellence Awards as chief executive and I am over the moon to be able to celebrate the outstanding work of people within our fostering communities in this way.

"It’s been such a joy to read everyone’s stories and hear about exceptional people who go above and beyond to support others. It’s an honour to be able to celebrate these incredible achievements with our annual awards as well as highlight the vital role fostering is playing to those outside the fostering community.

"The fostering community is truly a special one and all our winners, and everyone else involved in fostering in the UK should be incredibly proud of their contributions to foster care.

"With more than 7,000 fostering families needed in the UK, it’s vital that we get more exceptional foster carers on board to provide stable homes for children and young people."

Lancashire County Council's foster carers are part of a unique fostering family, made up of a strong, comprehensive network offering regular social events, activities, and financial support.

The council believes that foster care offers the best outcomes for children unable to remain with their birth parents and is keen to hear from interested parties who might wish to explore the opportunities of sharing their home and family with some of the most vulnerable in our community. Fostering comes in many shapes and sizes from single children to sibling groups, infants to teens, non-disabled children and youngsters with additional needs.

All potential foster carers need is a spare room, to be over 21 years old and a desire to provide a safe, stable, and caring home for a child. There are a range of benefits and extra incentives for all Lancashire County Council foster carers.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer, or to find out more about the events, go to