Benefit, Books and Babies
PUBLISHED: 11:19 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 February 2013
This is turning out to be a hectic year for Somerset cricketer Marcus Trescothick. In recognition for all he has done for the county he has been awarded a benefit season, and along with that comes the inevitable long list of fundraising activities...
"I'm trying to combine the three - the benefit, books and babies - but the family always comes first," says Marcus who, just a few weeks ago, withdrew from Somerset's pre-season tour to Dubai. This was due to the unfortunate recurrence of his stress-related illness, which had first occurred in 2006 when he had to quit two England tours.
Shortly after returning home to Taunton in March 2008, he announced his retirement from international cricket, although he remains fully committed to his native county and is expected to be a key player for them this season, and hopefully for many more years to come.
The 2008 cricket season is the 15th at the County Cricket Club www.somersetcountycc.co.uk for the 32-year-old, who started playing when he was just seven.
"Dad was a big cricketer and mum made the teas," he recalls. "I grew up with a bat in my hand... and the rest is just history!"
Marcus played for his country in 76 test matches and 123 one-day internationals. The pinnacle was in 2005 when he played a leading role in the side that won the Ashes.
Last year he helped Somerset to win the Division 2 title, meaning the side is playing in Division 1 of the County Championship in 2008. Somerset is also in the top division of this year's Pro 40 National cricket competition.
Marcus - who is also known as Banger because of his love of sausages - was born in Keynsham. He and his family now live in Taunton, and he is eager to put something back into the local community during his benefit season.
He has chosen to support the Children's Hospice South West www.chsw.org.uk (CHSW), which will receive some of the money raised at a number of functions, matches and golf days organised by his benefit committee.
CHSW's Little Bridge House was opened in North Devon more than 11 years ago and the charity's second hospice, which opened last year, is at Charlton Farm in Wraxall near Bristol.
"Dad was a big cricketer and mum made the teas. I grew up with a bat in my hand... and the rest is just history!"
Around £6 million is needed each year to keep the hospices running and the Children's Hospice South West Precious Lives Appeal - to open a new hospice to service the families of Plymouth and Cornwall - was launched at the beginning of September last year. Some 5 million will be needed for the building and initial running costs of this new service.
"I visited Little Bridge House, was shown around by the inspirational Eddie Farwell, co-founder of CHSW, and realised that I had found a cause very close to my heart. I am absolutely inspired by the work they do," says Marcus who delighted the youngsters by playing a game of cricket with them on the lawn during his visit. "It's a fantastic place and the people who look after the children and support the families do an amazing job. I feel the Children's Hospice South West's slogan 'making the most of short and precious lives' says it all."
Marcus is helping to raise the profile of CHSW and plans to return to the hospices and give some cricket lessons to some of the young fans as soon as his busy schedule allows.
Marcus is helping to raise the profile of Children's Hospice South West and plans to return to the hospices and give some cricket lessons to some of the young fans
Passing on his skills to the next generation is an important role for this sportsman and he works with young players in the Somerset County Cricket Club's Academy.
Marcus has also taken a keen interest in the redevelopment of the county ground, which began in January this year. The old Riverside Stand and some others have now been pulled down and the major transformation will include a new 3,000-seat state-of-the-art stand in their place.
Developments at the county ground are part of Taunton's regeneration scheme, and the cricket club will form part of the town's cultural quarter of shops, cafs, workshops and apartments.
"The new seating should be ready for the start of the Twenty20 season in June and then the whole of this phase of the development should be finished at the end of the summer. In a few years this will probably be one of the best grounds in the country."
Meanwhile, he and fellow team mates' main objective this season is to win the County Championship. Fixtures this month include their four-day game against Hampshire at the county ground starting on 7 May, followed by a four-day game against reigning county champions Sussex, starting on 14 May. They then play against Kent at Tunbridge Wells on the 21st.
"Somerset has never won the county championship before and if we manage that it will be a great achievement," says Marcus. "But it will take a lot of dedication from the players and the management. Hopefully we've got a chance - if we play as well as we did last season we will do okay." BY SARAH FORD
Visit www.somersetcountycc.co.uk/MTBenefit or call tel 01823 338054 for events taking place during Marcus Trescothick's Benefit Season. For further on Children's Hospice South West visit www.chsw.org.uk or call tel 01275 866600.
Marcus has asked that the entire proceeds of benefit collections scheduled for the following games at Taunton be donated to CHSW:
18 May: Somerset v Worcester (Pro 40)
1 July: Somerset v South Africa
23 August: Somerset v Gloucester (Pro 40)
28 August: Somerset v Worcester (floodlit)