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.
“It’s so important to have people around you and The Trust has been astonishing with their support.”
Former England, Hampshire and Middlesex spinner Shaun Udal was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in February 2019 and within 14 months his mother, brother and best friend Shane Warne had all passed away. Udal has spoken of how the Trust helped with his muscle therapy and mental health counselling.
“Bethan made me, Jane and Rhys immensely proud. We’ll never forget her, and we just love her so much.”
Whilst away covering a Six Nations match in Ireland in February 2020, former Glamorgan and England cricketer Steve James’ daughter Bethan, 21, died suddenly. Since then, the Trust has helped to provide counselling not just for Steve, but for his wife Jane and son Rhys.
“In the summer of 2017, I think that’s when things started to change in terms of my behaviour, my mood – I was very snappy, I was throwing tantrums and I was spending a lot of time by myself. I was completely possessed by The Voice.”
Former Somerset all-rounder Arul Suppiah’s career was cut short at just 29 as a result of chronic knee injuries, after which he began a career in teaching. During his time as a teacher, he developed anorexia, which led to a colleague putting him touch with the Trust, who provided him with a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a dietician.
“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.
“I was struggling with the pain and was forced to sleep in an armchair for six months.”
Former Kent spinner Peter Topley played 22 professional games in the 1970s and it was not until 50 years after his debut that he needed the Professional Cricketers’ Trust to come to his aid. After misdiagnosis for six months, the players’ charity supported Peter through a hip replacement in December 2022.
“I got to the point where I just accepted that I was going to be depressed for the rest of my life, and that’s just the way it was. The Trust has probably saved my life.”
Current Thunder and former Western Storm all-rounder, Fi Morris, has suffered from PTSD, depression and anxiety since she was assaulted during her time at university. Through her Personal Development Manager at the PCA, she was able to access the support of the Trust.
“Sometimes I felt as though my purpose in life had almost ended.”
Former Surrey and Sussex right-arm seamer Tony Pigott’s battles with his physical health, including bleeding on the brain from an accident in the French Alps and oesophagus cancer, led to battles with his mental health as well.
“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 changed so many lives and helped people like myself to live as normal a life as possible, so thank you very much.”
Former Yorkshire all-rounder Jamie Hood suffered a car accident in Cape Town in 1998, which left him paralysed with no mobility from the neck down. Since the devastating accident, the Trust has provided financial support for treatment including a specially adapted vehicle that has greatly increased Jamie’s mobility.
“I felt like a disappointment, I thought I was a waste of talent and I was worthless.”
Early in his career, Gloucestershire batter Miles Hammond was suffering from depression and anxiety. With the help of his PCA Personal Development Manger and the Trust, Hammond had nine sessions with a clinical psychologist. He found speaking to someone without cricket connections helped to figure out the root of the problem.
“Cricket will come and go but I will always be someone’s son and I will always be a father.”
Former Kent fast-bowler Robbie Joseph struggled with his transition away from cricket. The 40-year-old had only known cricket from a young age and he struggled to find his identity without it. At the same time, he had an illness in his family. The Trust had a massive impact on Joseph while he tried to find his feet.
“I just cracked, and my mind went into override and I had some thoughts I was not proud of. The Trust provided that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.”
Former Northants batter Vishal Tripathi has found his transition into medicine difficult. The Junior Doctor at the University Hospital of North Tees found his second year of medical school challenging. He lived on his own and found the workload difficult to cope with. Tripathi reached out to The Trust one evening when he ‘cracked’ whilst finding it too much to deal with.
“The Professional Cricketers’ Trust put me through to people who deal with this all the time, they made me feel at ease and gave me coping mechanisms.”
World Cup-winning England bowler Liam Plunkett has been dealing with panic attacks and anxiety for years. Earlier in his career, Plunkett struggled to cope with travelling due to his anxiety and received support which helped get his life and career back.
“Just from having that first session, it was a massive release and a huge weight off my shoulders. It enabled me to go to training again with a smile on my face.”
In 2021 Anuj Dal was going through difficult period. He was suffering from injury and a loss of form. The PCA Vice Chair was battling with his mental health, and he would wake up not knowing how he was going to get through the day’s cricket. His Derbyshire teammate, Luis Reece, pointed out the support on offer from The Trust, and Dal was able to seek help.
“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 although Iggy bravely lived with the tumour until he sadly passed away in 2021, aged 57. The Trust supported the Igglesdens by providing funding for Iggy’s wife Liz to become his full-time carer in his latter years, as well as a stairlift to enable Iggy to move around his Yorkshire home more easily.
“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.
“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 family to this day.
“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.
“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.
“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 and his family received support for his late daughter Jessica who had a life-limiting condition, Mitochondrial Disease.
“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.
““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.
“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.
“I lost my friend and my grandparents and I didn’t really have a way of releasing those emotions.”
Derbyshire all-rounder Luis Reece struggled to come to terms with the tragic death of a close friend whilst he was at university. He has since embarked upon a variety of fund-raising schemes for different charities, but without the support of the Trust, he feels he would not still be playing professional cricket.
“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.
“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.