Cricketer Tom Smith’s charity match for child grief charity

Tom and his wife Laura and their daughtersImage copyright Family photo
Image caption Tom Smith’s wife Laura died from a rare liver and bile duct cancer in August 2018

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club is breaking with 149 years of history by allowing players to wear charity shirts for just one Twenty20 match.

The club is fundraising for children’s charity, Grief Encounter, which helped player Tom Smith whose wife Laura died from cancer in 2018.

The left-arm spinner said the charity gave “a huge amount of support” to his daughter Rosie who was “struggling”.

Mr Smith said he wanted to turn “all the sadness into something positive”.

‘Hugely helpful’

Laura Smith died on 23 August from a rare liver and bile duct cancer.

Image caption The players were allowed to wear a charity shirt supporting Grief Encounters (formerly Rainbow Centre) for one match only

Bristol’s Rainbow Centre, which has merged with national charity Grief Encounter, was recommended to the family.

“My daughter was struggling, she just clammed up and wouldn’t talk about it and I didn’t know where to turn,” said Mr Smith.

“As the treatment’s gone on she’s opened up and is now able to deal with her emotions.

“While she was off having play therapy I had some great conversations with other widows who’re experiencing all the same milestones which has been hugely helpful to me.”

The match is against Mr Smith’s old club Sussex.

“It’s where Laura and I grew up and the captain is my best friend who I played all my cricket with,” he said.

Teams will wear rainbow shirts during the match and there will be family entertainment during the afternoon.

“It’s been incredible the club has supported it (my idea). Anything I’ve asked of them, they’ve done.”

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