Patrick Foster finds ways of overcoming “a different type of challenge”.

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Just over two years have passed since Patrick Foster’s life almost came crashing down due to his crippling gambling addiction. The then 31-year-old came close to suicide, before being pulled out of the darkness with a helping hand from the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.

Since receiving that support, Foster has got back on his own two feet and decided to use his story to help people avoid making the same mistakes he did.

In his current role at gambling harm awareness company EPIC Risk Management, the ex-Northants man works closely with both the Trust and the PCA to deliver educational sessions to current PCA members and academy players.

“It allows me to give something back to the cricket community,” Foster explains, “by working with both full-time professionals and academy players, sharing my experiences to do exactly that.

“EPIC and the PCA have worked together to deliver those sessions. That’s brought a unique connection between the two, and what’s made it even more powerful is having a cricketer like me, albeit one who played for a short amount of time, helping with the impact of the message.

“I can never repay the Trust or the PCA for what they’ve done for me, but in a way it feels like I’m giving something back and making what I hope is a real difference.

“I’ve not set out to change the world, but if I can help one person then it’s worth it.”

Foster delivers gambling harm awareness session

EPIC Risk Management’s Patrick Foster shares his eye-opening story with professional cricket squads...

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent UK lockdown, however, Foster has been forced to overcome what he has labelled “a different type of challenge”.

He explains that, on top of adapting his working schedule to suit the unprecedented circumstances, he has had to be particularly wary of the potential for boredom in isolation, since overcoming gambling addiction is a lifelong challenge.

“When lockdown started over that weekend in March, I reflected a lot on how it had been two years of recovery and two years without betting”, Foster recalls, “two years since I started the most difficult weeks of my life in rehab.

“I felt that the circumstances presented a different type of challenge, and I didn’t quite know how I was going to respond, particularly as someone who has had issues in the past dealing with change and dealing with being bored in isolation.

“I’ve still been working full-time for EPIC delivering sessions. Obviously, everything we’re doing at the moment is remote, but it’s all going well and we’ve been busy so far. It hasn’t been totally straightforward and it definitely took a bit of time to adjust, but I’ve got used to things and they’re better.”

“The Trust’s impact is not just life-changing but life-saving.”


In addition to his working schedule, Foster has focussed his mind and energy on the daunting challenge of completing 1,000km on foot during the first 100 days of lockdown.

With the cricket family getting behind the Trust’s #charity10for10 campaign throughout June, Foster saw the opportunity to use his personal challenge to raise additional funds for the players’ charity, and hopes to fundraise over £1,000 before scheduled completion on 30 June.

“1,000km in 100 days felt like a lot after essentially not doing much for a very long time! But I thought that I should put myself through it anyway, both for my own good and for the good of the Trust.

“From my own personal experience, I don’t know if I would still be here today if I hadn’t received the incredible support of the Trust. That’s how much I am indebted to the charity. It’s meant that I’ve been able to get on with my recovery, get back on my own two feet and move forward with life.

“The Trust’s impact is not just life-changing but life-saving.”

As of 22 June, Foster has covered 986.6km in 92 days, putting him ahead of schedule. Admitting the process hasn’t been easy, he says he has been inspired by the likes of Andy Moles and Sam Relf who have shared their personal stories to raise money for the players’ charity which faces an annual shortfall of £250,000 due to Covid-19.

“I was pretty unfit for the first 30 days, so stuck mostly to 5km runs. Slowly but surely as I’ve got fitter I’ve been extending those and I’ve done four half marathons now. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve found it easy, but it’s definitely manageable and I’ve had to be disciplined.

“I’ve certainly been inspired by those guys (Moles and Relf). There are times when you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself, but when you think about the situation other people find themselves in you realise that you’re not the only person who is dealing with struggles. It inspires you to keep going.

“I’m acutely aware of the support that the Trust gives so many different people who face their own unique circumstances. When you see other people overcome these challenges it inspires you to overcome your own personal battle.”

The Professional Cricketers’ Trust offers assistance to PCA members and their immediate families when they need it most. Support can range from emotional counselling to the provision of specialist medical equipment and more.