How cricket trust helped at time of tragedy for former Sussex CCC player

After his daughter Jessica was diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, former Sussex and Three Bridges cricketer Keith Newell did not know where to turn. Luckily for him the Professional Cricketers’ Trust stepped in.

The Trust who are a registered charity that supports members of the Professional Cricketers’ Association or their families when they are in need, provided all forms of support for Newell and his family.

They supplied a three-wheel buggy that allowed Jessica to live her life to the fullest before she passed away in January.

Jessica was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome, a serious neurological disorder that often affects the development of mobility, posture, and mental capacities in children.

Keith Newell in his Sussex playing days

Get all the Sussex Cricket latest here.

Newell shared his experience at the Vitality Blast Finals Day, one of the Trust’s biggest days for fundraising.

The Trust were the charity partner of the biggest day in the domestic cricket calendar for the third successive year, working with Sky and the BBC to spread awareness of the vital work it delivers in supporting the health and wellbeing of Professional Cricketers’ Association members.

“In 2014, my daughter at six months was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome, which is a mitochondrial disease, and it was a life-limiting disorder,” said Newell.

“We were told that we weren't going to have much time with her, and we were a bit lost, to be honest.

“We didn't really know what to do, where to turn, how to get any kind of help, and support and to be able to deal with a situation like that for myself and my wife at the time.

“We were contacted very quickly by the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, and basically very simply said, ‘What can we do for you?’, ‘How can we help you?’.

“And it was just nice to have direction and support from someone to give us a clearer perspective on how we could deal with that situation.

“And they have been here throughout since 2014 to help in many ways, with education, with support in her transport, regarding having a three-wheel buggy.

“Time to get away with her at Center Parcs and some financial help as well. It's been invaluable, and I can't think the Professional Cricketers’ Trust enough.”

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.

The Trust caters for any need present and past players have, something Newell’s wife Vicky believes is unique.

She said: “That’s what struck me the most about the Trust, when you look at the diversity of the people that they've helped, and different types of situations that they've been able to support people in.

“It isn't just about the players, it's about the family and the people around them people, their dependents, and their families.

“I think that in some ways the charity is quite unique in that ability to be able to offer that kind of level of support.

“You never think you're going to need this sort of thing in life, you think I'm healthy, I'm fine, what's the worst that can happen?

“But actually, you just do not know what's around the corner. Hopefully, you won't have the need for them.

“But if you do, you know that you've got support, and somebody's got your back is literally life changing.

“So, it's about supporting charities like this, and making sure that there's money available for people whenever they need.”

PLEASE LEAVE IN FINAL PAR – 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