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The Scottish city of Stirling has granted the honour of Freedom of the City to Jamaican born former cricketer, 85 year-old Irvin Iffla, in recognition of his long standing commitment and contribution to the public life of the city and in particular, cricket.
Mr. Iffla moved to Stirling from Jamaica in 1951 to play for the Stirling County Cricket Club and has lived there ever since. According to Mr. Iffla’s son, Robin, his father’s original intention was to play for one season and then return to Jamaica.
In Jamaica, he was then the youngest cricketer to represent the island at age 18, when he played against the MCC ( Marylebone Cricket Club) in 1947.
Mr. Irvin attended the Rollington Town School, where he developed his passion for cricket. He progressed to play for Wembley and Railway clubs.
“I know that he played for Jamaica against the touring MCC in 1947, where he took the wicket of Len Hutton. He left Jamaica to take up the professional post at Stirling County Cricket Club in 1951. His wife Lucille and their children joined him six months later,” Robin told JIS news.
In 1952 Stirling won the cricket championship. In 1960 Irvin Iffla left to play as a professional for Ayr in the western Union Championship. That year and the following year, Ayr won the championship. He left Ayr and played as a professional for Stenhousemuir, which won the championship for the first time during his stay.
“He holds the record in Scotland for being the only professional at three clubs, which spanned the Scottish Counties, Western Union and the East League and they all won their respective championships. In his cricketing time in Scotland, Irvin played with Rohan Khanai, who was a professional for Aberdeen, and also coached Mike Dennis at Ayr, who went on to become thecCaptain of England,” Robin added.
An avid sportsman, Irvin Iffla continued to play with local village teams when he retired from County cricket and finally ‘drew stumps’ in his early seventies.
Although his original plans was to stay in Scotland for a three-year term, Irvin Iffla did not return to Jamaica until 1980, when he visited his sister Monica (now deceased) and his niece Shirley Nix, who still resides in Kingston. His wife Lucille still has family in Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay.
According to Robin, “there is no doubt that Irvin’s arrival in Scotland changed the face of Scottish cricket, yet he was nonetheless surprised, yet delighted, to receive the award of Freedom of the City for Stirling. He is only the second citizen to receive it. Irvin Iffla said he was overwhelmed by the honuor from the city of Stirling.
“I am overwhelmed to be granted such a prestigious award. I took Scotland to my heart when I came here in 1951 and Scotland took me into its heart. Stirling has been my home since then and the birthplace of three of my children. To receive such an honour from my adopted homeland and city is the pinnacle of my cricketing career and a very humbling experience,” he said.
Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Burchell Whiteman, extending congratulations to Mr. Iffla, said he truly deserved special recognition.
“I write to add my word of congratulations to Irvin Iffla on his receiving the Freedom of the City of Stirling at the recent ceremony. On behalf of the Jamaican High Commission and the Jamaican community in the United Kingdom, I want to thank you for making the award to Mr. Iffla, who I know truly deserves special recognition. As a student in the United Kingdom, I was fortunate to spend a day in Stirling in the summer of 1964 and was delighted to meet Irvin and to learn from people in Stirling and the newspapers what a significant role he was playing in developing the city’s cricketing profile ,”Mr. Whiteman said.

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