Our sport might be individualistic, but as a community, we look after our own.
Whether you play for a men’s team or women’s team, for a week or a decade, every professional cricketer in England and Wales is a life-long member of the PCA; and that means you can count on the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for support. A number of beneficiaries of the Trust have chosen to speak out about their experiences and how the players’ charity has helped them at crucial moments in their lives. Ranging from life-saving emotional support, to the provision of medical equipment and everything in between, there are a number of ways in which the Trust can provide PCA members and their immediate families with support when they need it most.
“Suddenly we had all these people calling up and asking if there was anything they could do to help. It feels like family and friends rather than charity.”
Alan ‘Iggy’ Igglesden
Former Kent and England bowler Alan ‘Iggy’ Igglesden was first diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 1999. Though Iggy has lived with the tumour since, he recently suffered two major strokes which compounded his health problems. The Trust has supported the Igglesdens by providing funding for Iggy’s wife Liz to become his full-time carer, as well as a stairlift to enable Iggy to move around his Yorkshire home more easily.
“A big step for me was understanding that it’s ok not to be ok. When I understood that I realised that I was able to open up.”
England and Somerset spinner Bess has faced a constant unseen battle away from the cricket field, admitting that he has suffered from anxiety issues since his schooldays. The youngster opened up to former teammate and mentor Marcus Trescothick about his journey so far.
“Without the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, I
don’t think we’d be here today.”
The 35-year-old, who is now a teacher at Hilton College in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, took over 150 wickets in all formats for Hampshire and Kent before leaving the game in 2016. Fast forward three years, and Griffiths received a phone call that would send shockwaves through his immediate family.
“The Trust has given us so much, both financially and mentally. I’m so grateful for the precious moments and family time in the last year of Laura’s life.”
Gloucestershire bowler Tom Smith has received support from the Professional Cricketers’ Trust since his late wife Laura was diagnosed with a rare liver disease and bile-duct cancer. The Trust provided the Smith family with a nanny during the final months of Laura’s life, and continues to support Tom and his two daughters, Rosie and Clara, to this day.
“Fortunately I was talented at sport and this was my escape.”
Gloucestershire all-rounder Benny Howell is well renowned for his creativity on the pitch and in the absence of cricket he turned his hand to writing about his lifelong relationship with ADHD. Howell has not publicly opened up to discuss his mental health disorder, but has now taken a creative look at his battle in a blog for the PCA.
“I’m going to have to deal with this every single day for the rest of my life and not get complacent.”
Hampshire fast bowler Chris Wood revealed an 11-year battle with gambling addiction and his road to recovery through the support of the Trust and Sporting Chance. On-pitch success through four white-ball trophies brought him off-field pain through escalating his dependence on gambling.
“Like most people lucky enough to have a career in professional sport I believed I was bulletproof and I am testament that I am not bulletproof, unfortunately.”
Former Warwickshire batsman Andy Moles received substantial financial support from the Professional Cricketers’ Trust after an infection forced his left leg to be amputated. A tragic chain of events that started with a blister changed ‘Moler’s’ life forever and he revealed his story with an aim to help others and raise funds for the players’ charity.
“You can either sit in a corner and cry and moan or you can get up and do whatever you can with the help that’s available. You can still lead an enjoyable life.”
After becoming paralysed from the chest down, Winston Davis was told he would never walk again. The former fast-bowler received a fund from the Trust that paid for a specially adapted motor vehicle which allows him to stay mobile.
“The Professional Cricketers’ Trust were incredible to me- not just in terms of their emotional support but also the financial side of things and advice.”
Former Northamptonshire bowler Patrick Foster turned to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust when his gambling addiction almost drove him to suicide. He now speaks out about his own experiences to ensure others get the help they need.
“I contacted the Professional Cricketers’ Trust on a pretty dark day and I got a hand to pull me out. To be back here playing again, that wouldn’t have been possible without the Trust.”
Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick and his fiancé Lisa have received bereavement counselling and continue to be supported by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.
“The Trust’s support really transformed how I could look after John at home and how he could still be involved in the family.”
Christine Derrick received support and equipment from the Trust after her late husband John suffered from a stroke caused by a brain tumour.
“The people at the Professional Cricketers’ Trust were almost like part of my family. They care for you and for your well-being.”
Lloyd Smith felt alone and unwanted for years, but opened up to the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for support before it was too late.
“The Professional Cricketers’ Trust have been brilliant and the financial support we have received has been life changing”
Former Glamorgan and Sussex all-rounder Keith Newell has received support for his daughter Jessica who has a life-limiting condition, Mitochondrial Disease.
““I’ve had so much help from the Trust in getting over my problem. Contacting them was a huge, huge step for me.””
Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Brian Rose lost his confidence when he fell and knocked out some of his teeth, making it hard for him to speak in meetings and in public. The Trust paid for Rose’s dental implant surgery, allowing him to live his life as normal again.
““If the Trust didn’t get involved, I would definitely say I wouldn’t have made it through the next couple of hours.”
After the break-up of a relationship, Wayne Law twice received help from the Trust to help him through his lowest ebb. Despite receiving financial support in 2014, Law contemplated suicide two years later after a painkiller addiction. The Trust paid for his rehabilitation at The Priory in Bristol.
“I called from the other side of the world and within 20 minutes I was being helped.”
After a failed suicide attempt in 2016, former Kent and Derbyshire fast bowler Simon Cusden received funding for rehabilitation from the Trust within 20 minutes of calling. Cusden has thanked the Trust for saving his life.
“The Trust have bought me equipment for physiotherapy that helps keeps my joints and posture in a good position.”
Jamie Hood suffered a life-changing broken neck in 1998 that left him paralysed from the neck down. The Trust has provided him with a specially adapted vehicle which allows his carers to get him around more easily.
“I got very low and without the Trust’s help I definitely wouldn’t be in the position that I am today.”
Despite only playing four first-class games, Former Notts batsman Joshua Mierkalns still received the help of the Trust after a life-threatening intestinal illness. The fund provided support until he was fit enough to return to work.
“The Trust look after the whole family. You need an avenue of communication and the confidential helpline is very helpful in that.”
After the loss of his son, Tom, former England batsman Matthew Maynard turned to the Trust to help him through the ordeal. Matt and his family received counselling and still seek specialist support whenever they need it.