PCA PRESS RELEASE
Gloucestershire spinner to raise funds to give back to players’ charity.
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Tom Smith is looking forward to taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in aid of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust this October, after a difficult few years have seen the left-arm spinner turn to the players’ charity for assistance both before and after the tragic death of his wife Laura.
Having fought Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (a rare chronic liver disease) and bile-duct cancer for 18 months, Laura lost her courageous battle, a year ago today, 23 August 2018. In a recent interview with the Trust, Smith bravely recounted his family’s journey from diagnosis to the present day.
The Trust has supported the Smith family along that journey, by way of emotional support and funding for a nanny to allow Tom to continue his career as a professional cricketer.
The Three Peaks Challenge will see some of cricket’s most recognisable faces join fans in raising funds for the Cricketers’ Trust and the Tom Maynard Trust. The group will head north to summit Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike in the space of three days across the weekend of 11 – 13 October.
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust supports the lifelong health and wellbeing of PCA members and their immediate families, both during and after their playing career. The Tom Maynard Trust aides young sportspeople by warning them of the potential pitfalls of a career in sport, as well as providing assistance with equipment and overseas placements.
Smith spoke to the Trust about what will be an emotional challenge for both him and his close friends and family.
- Tell us a little bit about the Three Peaks Challenge and why you’re doing it.
- When the Three Peaks Challenge was announced, I knew I was really keen to support a Professional Cricketers’ Trust event because I hadn’t done any of the previous ones. The timing also feels right – it will be just over a year since my wife Laura passed away. My friends have also been really keen in helping me to support the Trust and we all want to do something. I’m very fortunate that two of my close friends in cricket – Ben Brown and Ollie Rayner – are going to support me as well, alongside many other cricketers and past cricketers that are doing it. It means so much to me and to be able to raise some funds and put them back into the Trust is very meaningful.
- How much will it mean to you to have the support of those friends on the challenge?
- When my Dad (who eventually passed away) first got diagnosed with cancer, the same group of us did a half marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. The boys were the same back then, keen to help and asking what they could do. This time around, they were very keen to support me and it will mean a lot for us to be out there doing it together. During tough times we’ll see each other through and then also be able to enjoy the odd evening and bus journey as well.
- How much are you actually looking forward to the challenge (or not)?
- I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest. It’s one of those things that we’ve signed up for and haven’t really thought about how big it actually is. I think we just thought it was a bit of walking and we’ll be fine. In reality, though, at some point nearer the time the enormity of it might just sink in and cause me to do a bit of training for it.
- Alongside raising money for charity, what excites you about the challenge?
- There’s the sense of achievement. I haven’t really done many challenges apart from that one half marathon about five or six years ago. Doing something that is outside of cricket and outside of parenting will be really good for me.
- Have you got any aims for fundraising or are you just going to see what you and the guys can come up with?
- I’ll need to think on that and try and do something because it’s just been a really full on year with the cricket and the recent Rainbow Day on Sunday 4 August. Having just gotten through that, my next big challenge is the Three Peaks and hopefully I can drive the fundraising forward.
- You’ll be supporting the Professional Cricketers’ Trust and Tom Maynard Trust, another big cricketing charity, how are you feeling about raising money for these two very worthy causes?
- They’re two amazing charities. I’m very honoured to be a part of it and raising some money for both. It will be a great group of people on the trip, too, and I’m really looking forward to meeting some new faces as well as reconvening with some familiar ones.
- With the timing of the challenge, did you pick it out specifically as something to focus on after the end of the season?
- I knew October was going to be a difficult time of year with cricket finishing and children being at school and nursery. So I knew I needed to try and fill that time with something and I think it will give me a real good focus to take on the Three Peaks.