PROFESSIONAL CRICKETERS' TRUST PRESS RELEASE
Simon Hughes supports players’ charity after being inspired by own experiences.
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Simon Hughes has kindly donated £2,100 to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust through the ‘World’s Best Cricket Club’, a weekly virtual club which enables fans to engage with some of the world’s best players.
The former Middlesex and Durham man was inspired to support the players through the winter months by his own experiences during his 13-year playing career, which saw him make over 400 professional appearances and take 738 wickets in total.
Whilst Hughes acknowledges that there are more support structures in place for modern players than there were during his career, he believes that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic mean that the work of the Trust has never been more important.
Speaking to the Trust, Hughes explained his motivations for starting the club in order to raise funds for the players’ charity: “The reason that I want to make money for the charity is because I had a couple of incidents during my own career, and I know that if I had had someone to talk to about it, then I probably wouldn’t have done those things.
“I used to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which means you feel gloomy in the winter. I felt that a lot as a player and every time I went to play abroad that immediately made me feel good, and I realised that young players wouldn’t be able to do that this winter.
“I thought of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust after a conversation with PCA Chief Executive Rob Lynch, who said the charity had had a terrible year, that fundraising was in short supply and a lot of players had been in need of support.
“I can see why it’s valuable to have someone outside of your immediate environment who you can talk to – I definitely would have benefited from that. The more help that these players can get to really enjoy their fantastic opportunity to be a professional cricketer, the better.”
“I felt that we saw another side to the players after everything that happened last summer, and it provided fans with the opportunity to get close to players and get to know them that bit better."
After one month spent setting up the platform and payment system, Simon’s club went live in October 2020, with England captain Joe Root kindly giving up his time to be the very first weekly guest.
Each week sees the guest interviewed by Hughes and his colleague Simon Mann, before the floor is opened up for the fans to ask their own questions and the event then finishes off with a quiz. The likes of Ian Botham, Stuart Broad and Jos Buttler join Root in having made an appearance in the club.
“I felt that we saw another side to the players after everything that happened last summer, and it provided fans with the opportunity to get close to players and get to know them that bit better.
“I’ve got the technology to interview people easily and just thought I should make use of it and start the club to raise some funds for the Trust at the same time.
“We’ve drawn on all of our contacts and used social media as much as possible, and everybody who’s been to one of the events has absolutely loved it. We’ve set up a WhatsApp group and the comments are universally positive. There’s a real cross-section of fans and we’ve even had people tuning in from as far away as Bangalore!
“It would be nice to get 500 members, then we’d have a really good community and we could give about £10,000 to the charity over the course of a year.”
Moving forward, Hughes’ next guest in the club on Thursday 4 March is Trust Director and former England opener Marcus Trescothick.
You can get involved by following the links on Simon’s social media profiles and signing up for a minimum of £6 per month, and every interview is saved and uploaded to his YouTube channel after the event.