Janet Bairstow proud after becoming Yorkshire’s first female vice-president

For the 15th year in a row Janet Bairstow would have been at Headingley this week, meeting and greeting, as Gloucestershire opened the Championship season against her beloved Yorkshire.

But unlike the previous 14, there was to be an important ­difference for the woman who usually welcomed both sets of players, officials and guests in the foyer as they walked in from ­Kirkstall Lane.

The matriarch of the Bairstow family is no longer the county’s cricket administrator but their first female vice-president – and that would have meant carrying out her ­duties in the luxurious Hawke suite saved for dignitaries and distinguished guests.

“It is strange not knowing when that first game will be,” she said with the season on hold due to coronavirus. “I’d spent 14 years working at Headingley and am very much looking forward to this new ­ambassadorial role but for now I have to wait.

“I’m incredibly proud and ­honoured to have been given this position. It means an awful lot to me and my family and I think I shall enjoy visiting a few more grounds beyond the county.

“And the fact I’m the first woman to be in this position? Well it is wonderful really, I’m very proud of that and hopefully there will be more that will follow in my footsteps in due course.

“Who knows when I’ll get along to my first game as a vice-president, it is something to look forward to because county cricket is the lifeblood of the game in England and we must look after it.

“Whenever we get to restart county cricket I should think people will turn out in great numbers to enjoy something that is easy to take for granted, but we will all be missing it terribly over the coming weeks.”

For those unaware, Bairstow is connected to the club through more than her work – her late ­husband David played for Yorkshire and ­England, as does her son Jonny.

Both are bona fide Yorkshire legends, and Janet has been there throughout, offering love and support, ­especially through some difficult and turbulent times.

Not only did she raise Jonny and his sister Becky to become a terrific credit to their family ­following David’s suicide in 1998, she did so while fighting her own battle with breast cancer, that reared its head again in 2012.

“The first time I came here was with David when he was captain and my connection with the club was purely as a player’s wife,” Bairstow recalled.

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