Major award for FVO stalwart

by Steven Scott — 10th June 2023.

Jon Cross, 2023 SOA President's Medal winner Jon Cross, 2023 SOA President's Medal winner

We were delighted this week to learn that our club captain Jon Cross had been recognised by Scottish Orienteering for his exemplary work over a large number of years with the award of the sport's highest honour, the President's Medal, at the federation's Annual General Meeting.

For the past 24 years, Jon has served as the FVO club captain, and during his captaincy, the club presence in major events has increased exponentially, due in no small measure to Jon's diligence and extensive range of contacts within the sport. In Jon's first year as captain, FVO was able to enter five teams to the Scottish Relays with the best place a 3rdin the ad-hoc; by this year, the number had increased to 20 teams, with seven medals across the board.

Perhaps Jon's greatest achievement as team captain was in 2015 when, after overseeing eight consecutive victories in the Compass Sport Trophy (for “small” clubs), Jon masterminded an FVO win in the Compass Sport Cup, while we were still strictly speaking a “small” club. From 2015, when we had 97 members, the club has continued to grow to the level that we are now a bona-fide “large” club with more than 250 members, and this is due in part to the massive effort that Jon puts in, year on year, in recruiting athletes to run in major competitions for FVO. Jon has the deepest address book in British orienteering, and can always be relied upon to recruit a spare runner on the few occasions that we're short a number.

Jon served a two year term as Club President during an extremely difficult period for the sport nationally, with COVID protocols restricting what we could do, and thanks to his innovative leadership, we emerged from the lockdown period in an even stronger shape than when we went in. Key to this was the expansion of the Club Development Officer role from one day a week to two days, and Jon line-managed the CDO and ensured that all activities related directly to the long-term vision of the club.

In late 2021, when it appeared there would be no British or Scottish Relay Championship, for the first time since the Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001, Jon took it upon himself to (almost single-handedly) organise a stripped-down version of the championship to enable continuity of the event, with nearly 50 teams taking part.

Jon stepped down in 2022 from his role as a selector for the GB Squad after more than 15 years, many of which were spent as Chairman of Selectors. During the pandemic he lent his support to the Performance programme as volunteer team liaison, helping with the considerable logistical issues of getting athletes abroad to attend international competitions.

Jon is one of the Directors of Masterplan Adventure responsible for staging the Sprint Scotland series, Race the Castles, Coasts and Islands and other quality events. In 2019 he and Graeme Ackland contrived to have the Adventure Show stream the JOK Chasing Sprint live on TV, from Callander Park Falkirk, complete with live commentary, which greatly enhanced the public profile of the sport.

Jon's involvement at the highest levels of the sport continues, as he will be one of the planners for WOC 2024 in Edinburgh, and was in Denmark last summer to cheer on Team GB and to share good practice with the Danish organisers. Jon is always collaborative in his approach to orienteering activities, and is very willing to share his extensive experience with new event officials. He recently qualified as a level C controller, and will play a major role going forward in enhancing the profile of our club, and the sport nationally.

Salut el Capitan - thoroughly deserved award.

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