Vitality Blast Finals Day saw the Professional Cricketers’ Trust raise much-needed funds, with former Leicestershire player and TV commentator Charles Dagnall 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 on 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.
And Dagnall, who was part of Sky’s coverage of the day, recognised the role the Trust can play in supporting players after their retirement.
“The thing is that the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, and cricket in general, is unique,” the 46-year-old said.
“There is nothing like it in the world. Cricketers live out of each other's pockets for six months of the year with very limited access to family and friends. It's an intense season and nothing quite compares to that end.
“And for some, and I know this from former colleagues and teammates of mine, that the transition to the normal world outside of the cricket bubble is a very difficult one.
“And sometimes it's quite hard for some to adjust, and to have Professional Cricketers’ Trust is there as an outlet for those who do find it difficult is such a valuable thing.
“To be able to reach out if someone is struggling and phone someone and get help in whatever section that might be, and what I mean by section is that it's both physical and mental.
“If you have mental health problems if you're suffering from anxiety or depression if you have an addiction.
“We've seen Chris Woods, who is playing in this very game, have a gambling addiction, who does he turn to?
“Well, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust. It is there for family problems, for bereavements, for getting over loss, the Professional Cricketers Trust is there to assist in whatever way they can, and every individual situation is different.
“If it's a medical situation, do you need equipment, wheelchairs, laptops that can help communicate with family and friends as we've seen in other instances, so having them there, for all cricketer’s male and female, whoever's played the professional game is a wonderful thing.”
One of the player stories highlighted on the day was that of former England player 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 Dagnall recognising the importance of fellow former players speaking up and sharing their stories.
He added: “If you don't have those stories, and it's a brave thing to do, to come out and admit that you've had a problem with x or a problem with y.
“And to stand up and be taken notice of for what you have been through is not an easy thing. But what it does do is inspire those who may have a problem, who are worried about coming forward and seeking help.”
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