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Vitality Blast Finals Day saw the Professional Cricketers’ Trust raise much-needed funds, with former Derbyshire, Lancashire and England player Dominic Cork lending his support.
In one of the Trust’s biggest fundraising days of the year, Edgbaston may have been treated to three enthralling games of cricket, but it was the heart-warming stories of Trust beneficiaries and their families that stole the show.
The Trust was created to support the health and wellbeing of Professional Cricketers’ Association members who have entertained cricket supporters over the years on the pitch for when they are in desperate need for help.
Several past and present players have spoken so openly of support they have received, including Yorkshire Vikings spinner Dom Bess and Hampshire Hawks seamer Chris Wood, who featured at Edgbaston.
More recently, former Somerset batter Arul Suppiah has revealed the torture of his eating disorder while former Yorkshire all-rounder Jamie Hood has spoken about living life to the full despite no mobility below his neck following a freak accident.
Cork, who was part of Sky Sports’ coverage of the day, related particularly to former teammate David Griffiths’ story.
Griffiths donated a kidney to save his sister’s life after she had suffered kidney failure and needed financial and mental health support from the Trust.
“People need help, and it's not just cricketers but families too, with all things physically, mentally, anything that the Trust can help with, that's what they're there to do,” he said.
“So, it's important to raise as much money as possible and if you can spare a fiver or a tenner here, then please help because it's so good.
“There's a lot of players that I played with; David Griffiths, who has been here today from Hampshire, I've played with him, Steve James obviously lost his daughter and I played in an England side with him.
“It's devastating for them and so as a Trust and as an association, it's great that we're able to help them out. But we need funding, and we need help, we need people to dig as deep as they can.”
One of the player stories highlighted on the day was that of former England player and now journalist Steve James, who shared the harrowing story of the death of his daughter Bethan, aged just 21.
James and his family have been supported by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust with counselling as they come to terms with Bethan’s passing from sepsis in 2020.
The film was shown on Sky’s coverage and has already been viewed over 270,000 times on Twitter, with Cork recognising the importance of fellow former players speaking up and sharing their stories.
He added: “It's brave to do it and they've been through hell and back and if it's some comfort that they know that there is a Professional Cricketers’ Trust that will help them out, and that's what I'm glad for.
“They're able to come and tell the story because it will just help other people who perhaps will go through some tough times in the future.”
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust provides vital support to past and present cricketers in England and Wales and their immediate families when in desperate need. The charity’s work is all encompassing, whether it be for unforeseen physical or mental needs. Vitality Blast Finals Day is supporting the players’ charity - to find out more about the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, visit professionalcricketerstrust.org