By Milly McEvoy, Sportsbeat
Vitality Blast Finals Day was not all about the cricket and the silverware on offer - it was also an opportunity for the Professional Cricketers’ Trust to raise much-needed funds and awareness, according to trustee Daryl Mitchell.
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.
And Mitchell, who acts as a trustee for the organisation, was proud to see the Professional Cricketers’ Trust given space on county cricket’s biggest stage, with beneficiaries interviewed on Sky and the BBC.
“I'm very fortunate to be a trustee of the charity, I started that when I became chair back in 2017,” the former Worcestershire captain said.
“You get to see the other side of the sport, being a trustee, you see some of the cases of guys that I've played with, played against, Ashes winners that have fallen on difficult times and for the Trust to be able to help them is special.
“It's a great charity, so to be front and centre of Finals Day, which is the highlight of the year from a domestic cricketers’ point of view, it's fitting.
“Hopefully, we can continue to raise a lot of money to give a bit back to those players that have given us so much pleasure to supporters over the years.”
In 2021 alone, the Trust supported 106 individuals with mental health problems, taking the total since 2015 to 526.
The assistance for current and former players in England and Wales is all encompassing, whether it be for physical or mental needs including provision of specialist equipment, funding operations or specialist wellbeing support.
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust provides vital support to past and present cricketers in England and Wales and their immediate families when in desperate need.
One of the 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 in February 2020.
James and his family have been supported by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust with counselling and support ever since, as they come to terms with Bethan’s passing from sepsis.
The film was shown on Sky’s coverage and has already been viewed over 270,000 times on Twitter, with Mitchell recognising the importance of fellow former players speaking up and sharing their stories.
He added: “You see the see the videos that go out and then the stories are put on social media and across Sky Sports today, for example, they really are the tip of the iceberg right now.
“They are some hard-hitting cases, but to see the good the charity does, across the generations, really.
“We have players’ children from as young as four and five up to putting stairlifts in the older generation’s houses in their 80s and 90s.
“Whether you've played one first class game, or 100 Test matches, that makes no difference.
“The Trust is there for you to lean on when most needed and it's fantastic, that broad sort of spectrum, that broad variety of things that we do.”
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