Vitality Blast Finals Day saw the Professional Cricketers’ Trust raise much-needed funds to support its members past and present, with former Warwickshire, Essex and England player Nick Knight lending his support.
For a third successive season, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust celebrated the biggest day in the county calendar, while highlighting the life-changing work of the charity at Edgbaston.
The Vitality Blast Finals Day saw several heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from the Trust told throughout the build-up and during the day on the big screens, Sky, and the BBC.
The Trust was created to support the health and wellbeing of PCA 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 on support they have received, including Yorkshire Vikings spinner Dom Bess and Hampshire Hawks seamer Chris Wood who featured in Finals Day.
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.
And Knight, who led Sky Sports’ coverage of the day, spoke with former Sussex all-rounder Keith Newell, who was supported by the Trust after his daughter Jessica was born with a life-limiting mitochondrial illness.
“We did a little piece with Keith Newell in the build-up and Keith was fantastic,” the 52-year-old said.
“What it does for people like me, and those of us that are very close to the game, these guys are our colleagues their life has been our life, and to see them suffering and to see the heartbreak that they've been through is so challenging.
“And we just want to try and make as much awareness of what's going on and how people are suffering and what help can be given their way and help is important for us throughout the day to get that across.
“And we hope that as many people as possible will help donate and make those donations if they possibly can.
“So, these initiatives these days, these opportunities to get that that awareness out there of what the Professional Cricketers’ Trust is what it's doing, are absolutely crucial.”
One of the player stories highlighted on the day with Knight’s former England A teammate and now journalist Steve James sharing 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 Knight appreciative of the reality check those stories provide.
He added: “Talking to Keith, the support that he had both mentally and providing opportunities for his daughter while she was still alive and trying to prolong that.
“Just listening to him talk for about three or four minutes, it makes it all very real what we do, I worry about stumbling over words in my build up and getting it wrong.
“The batters out there are worried about getting out, the bowlers are worried about getting hit for fours and sixes.
“We all have our worries, but the perception and reality are very different and to hear Keith and Steve in the videos, you get some perspective on what's going on.”
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