Trescothick credits 'life saving' PCA
Marcus Trescothick has hailed the "life saving" impact of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) Benevolent Fund as he prepares to undertake a marathon bike ride to raise money for the charity.
The fund set up by the players' union aims to help cricketers and their dependants deal with times of hardship or upheaval and was a substantial help to Trescothick when he was in the grip of depression.
"I need to give something back," Trescothick told ESPNcricinfo. "I've had use of the benevolent fund. The PCA helped me massively when I didn't know where to turn and for that I will always be grateful. If there is anything I can do to repay that, by putting a name to an event or creating awareness, I'm only too happy to try.
"When I came back from India in 2006, I was struggling. I needed help and it was the PCA who were there for me.
"I called Richard Bevan, who was the PCA chief executive at the time, when I didn't know what to do or where to turn. He said 'give me an hour' and, within two hours, I had a knock on the door and there was a psychologist there to help me. That sort of instant service was an incredible help and whatever happens in the future, I'd like to continue my affiliation with the fund so I give something back."
Trescothick is one of a host of cricketers taking part in the Big Bike Ride to raise money for the PCA Benevolent Fund and the Tom Maynard Trust. The group of 62 riders, which includes Andrew Flintoff, Darren Gough, Jos Buttler, Darren Maddy, Alan Mullally and Matthew Maynard, will cycle from Durham to London over five days from October 18. They will travel 441 miles and hope to raise £200,000.
"I'm not the only one who has benefited. Far from it. The PCA has had a life saving impact on some players who have fallen into hard times and it's vital we continue to grow it so we can deal with the issues that affect the next generation of players. I'm not sure people really appreciate just how important it is."
Trescothick and co. will also be raising funds for the Tom Maynard Trust, which aims to help disadvantaged young sportsmen. Trescothick knows the Maynard family well. On his ODI debut he batted alongside Matthew Maynard and then, a few years later, the pair worked together during the 2005 Ashes when Maynard was part of the England coaching team and Trescothick's positive batting set the platform for England's approach in the series.
"Yes, I played with Matt and got to know Tom as he was growing up," Trescothick said. "He was a very popular lad. You only have to look at all the events people are organising in his memory to see the impact he had on so many lives. He was a fun-loving bloke; a really great character.
"He used to nick my bats. We were both with Gunn and Moore at the time but he felt that my bats were a bit better than his, so he would always ask for a couple.
"His funeral was packed. Everyone in cricket was there. His death was a tragedy that touched everyone and one of those moments when you realised how close the cricket family is and how people support each other in times like that."
While some of the better-known participants will complete a leg or two of the journey, Trescothick is committed for all five days. He expects it to be physically gruelling: "It's not meant to be easy. Hopefully the idea of how far we're going and how tough it will be will inspire people to give.
"But even though I know it will be hard work, I'm expecting it to be great fun. There will be great camaraderie between the riders and if people want to come and say hi at each stop, that would be great. We're doing it for two great causes and I'm sure that, even when we're struggling up a hill in the rain, that will keep us going."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo