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"I still cannot describe it now. It was the relief of not worrying where the next meal was coming from."
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Former Middlesex batsman Robin Sims made 14 professional appearances for his home county during the early 1990s and despite being released at the age of 24, he built himself a successful career outside of cricket until cancer devastated his family.
Released in 1995, Sims most memorable moment on the field came in the 1989 Ashes where he famously caught Australia captain Allan Border at Lord’s as sub fielder.
Despite a limited playing career, Sims will always be a Professional Cricketers’ Association member. Once players become PCA members, they are members for life, which means they have access to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, a charity that Sims will forever be grateful for and he has written the following blog to discuss his story…
My family all played cricket so I was always down my local club up until I was about eight years old and straight away I went into the under-11s and I played all the way through until getting my first contract in 1987 and I played until 1995.
I had a great time playing professionally and then I had to go and find something else to do after finishing cricket. I went into a construction career where my Father had a business so I worked with him for years until he retired then I started my own little company and then things changed after that.
About seven years ago my wife got diagnosed with breast cancer and had radiotherapy, chemotherapy, mastectomy and for a couple of years after that she was ok and then three years ago she took a turn for the worse and it had come back and spread. She was very ill for about six months, she was in the Royal Marsden Hospital not far from the Oval and I spent every day up there with her.
It was so difficult, our money was running out, my wife was getting extremely ill and two years ago they gave her two to four weeks to live but she wanted to see my son go to secondary school. I cannot quite believe how brave she was but she lasted another 18 months. She was so brave and she carried on to see her children grow up as much as she could.
She passed away 1st April 2017 and then the day after the people who were renting my house out, who were my only source of income at the time moved out, it was just a coincidence. All our savings were gone; I had no money to get by day to day. For about a week after she had died, I was in a terrible state anyway, on top of that I had no money, and I didn’t know where to turn next.
Just by chance a letter came through the door and it was the PCA magazine, Beyond the Boundaries and one afternoon I opened it up and read it and I saw a little thing at the bottom of the page where it said if you need any help then please call this number.
I just thought – I can’t do any worse than phone them up and then within 20 minutes they had put some money into my bank account and you cannot believe how much that meant to me. I still cannot describe it now. It was the relief of not worrying where the next meal was coming from.
I don’t want charity, but at the time I didn’t know where to go. For a good six months, the PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust looked after me to get me back on my feet.
You miss the simple things. Like seeing your daughter doing gymnastics or your son scoring a goal. On top of looking after the kids, you’ve lost your wife and you have no money. I don’t know what anyone else would have done in my situation if they wouldn’t have had the Professional Cricketers’ Trust. Those first five or six months you don’t get anything, it takes so long to do probate so we had nothing.
Out of the blue I received a card from the Trust with some money in it saying get the kids something nice for Christmas and it just takes the edge of things.
Then out of the blue I received a card from the Trust with some money in it saying get the kids something nice for Christmas and it just takes the edge of things. They are always messaging and asking how we are getting on and it’s so kind that they are looking out for me and my family.
I haven’t played professional cricket for 25 years but they still care for you.
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is like one big family. If you are ever in trouble, please phone them because they are there to help you and it doesn’t matter what’s going on. From the death of my wife to depression or anything. They are there to help and they have not just helped me, they have helped my family and I would like to thank them very much, they have been brilliant.
Speak to Ian Thomas via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07920 575 578.
For more information on the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, click here.