PROFESSIONAL CRICKETERS' TRUST PRESS RELEASE
Headingley heroes partner again to create magic moment for players’ charity.
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Despite Ben Stokes lifting the Reg Hayter Cup after being voted the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year on Wednesday evening, he once again shared the headlines with Jack Leach and his generosity at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards.
The Awards, which this year were held at the Roundhouse in Camden, is an event organised by the PCA in conjunction with the England & Wales Cricket Board. The evening champions the best individual performers of the highlights of the international and domestic season with all proceeds going to the players’ charity, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.
Twelve awards were presented on the night, including Tom Banton being voted the PCA Young Player of the Year and Sophie Ecclestone becoming the first player to win back-to-back NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer accolades.
However, it was Leach who provided one of the ovations of the evening after a starring role in the live auction for the Professional Cricketers’ Trust. The England and Somerset off-spinner waited patiently throughout the bidding until lot six arrived, a signed painting of Ben Stokes’ Headingley heroics.
As heart breaking as it is, I’m so glad and feel very lucky that the PCA have the Professional Cricketers’ Trust in place, looking out for and supporting people in our game when they really need it.
The portrait, created by renowned artist Ross Baines, depicts Stokes winning the third Ashes Test match against Australia on that memorable afternoon in August. The original portrait provides a stunning and vivid reminder of the greatest individual performance for England in the last 50 years.
Sitting on the Somerset table, the left-arm spinner, who played a momentous match-winning role batting at number 11 with Stokes at Leeds, raised his hand to bid on the one-off item. In a partnership of 76 which lasted exactly an hour, Leach faced 17 balls for one run in a supporting role which allowed Stokes to steal the show and level the Ashes.
“I’ve been looking for some artwork for my house, but probably didn’t think I’d have Ben Stokes on my wall,” said the England bowler. “Ross Baines has done an amazing piece and it’s a picture that gives me great memories and great motivation!”
Stokes himself donated the artwork to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust to auction at the Awards after Baines contacted the all-rounder in the build-up to the ceremony. The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is a registered charity created to support the life-long health and wellbeing of PCA members and their immediate family when they need it most.
The players’ charity looks out for players throughout their active careers and long afterwards, funding life-changing medical assistance, crisis helplines and educational programmes in England and Wales.
The charitable section of the evening was presented by Director of the Trust, Marcus Trescothick who delivered a speech on the work the players’ charity does before introducing the story of Gloucestershire spinner, Tom Smith. Earlier this summer, Smith told his heart-breaking story to the Trust who supported his family through the tragic loss of his wife and mother of his two young daughters. A story you can see here.
The auction, led by Jonny Gould included generous donations from Eoin Morgan and James Anderson who will give up their time to host an exclusive dinner in the Lord’s Long Room and a day at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“Leachy winning the auction made it all that more special.”
Leach was full of praise for the Trust and explained his motivation behind bidding £8,000 to give back to the charity that is so close to his and his fellow professionals’ hearts.
“It definitely wasn’t planned but I’m very happy that the money is going towards an amazing charity.
“On the night we saw Tom Smith’s story. As heart breaking as it is, I’m so glad and feel very lucky that the PCA have the Professional Cricketers’ Trust in place, looking out for and supporting people in our game when they really need it.”
It will not just be the Professional Cricketers’ Trust who will benefit from the generosity inside the Roundhouse, 10% of the £8,000 will be donated to St Helena Hospice, the chosen charity of artist Ross Baines.
The winner of the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year Stokes was visibly delighted who embraced Leach in similar scenes to what happened on the Headingley outfield.
“Leachy winning the auction made it all that more special,” said Stokes.
“It’s a moment that we shared on the pitch will both never forget it. Massive thanks to Ross who kindly donated the amazing painting and I hope the money raised makes a big impact for the St Helena Hospice too as I know it’s very close to Ross and his wife’s heart.”