Portsmouth army veteran hosts cricket tournament to raise money for armed forces charities
A BRITISH Army veteran has organised a cricket tournament for past and present armed forces personnel.
Lee Gray from Stamshaw, was medically discharged from the Royal Engineers in 2018 following complications with his heart, and after leaving, dealt with severe depression and PTSD.
The latter was sparked by the death of his mother Vivian, who died after a party in October 2013 held to mark him joining the army.
Since then, the former sapper has been working hard behind the scenes to create a cricket tournament that will support armed forces, veterans and service charities.
On Sunday, June 27, three teams – North Hampshire XI, South Hampshire XI and Heroes XI – will battle it out at Portsmouth Cricket Club in a series of T10-style matches, dubbed Cricket for Heroes.
Lee, 32, said: ‘I love cricket and I love the armed forces, during my time in the Royal Engineers I had help from my Army mates and commanding officers to get through a difficult period of my life after my mum’s death.
‘After being medically discharged from service in 2018, I lost my way, contemplated suicide and struggled not only with my sexuality but the built-up grief from years of pain I locked away whilst doing my job as a geographic technician. I worked and worked to mask the hurt and did well in the armed forces only to have it collapse all around me.
‘Some of the military charities involved in the Cricket for Heroes tournament helped me, be that through counselling or financially. They are and have been a blessing and I want to repay their immense contribution to me by organising this event and helping to champion their causes.’
A total of 10 charities are set to benefit from the tournament, including Forgotten Veterans UK, Veterans Outreach Support (VOS) and Help for Heroes.
The event was initially set to take place in Emsworth last year, but was rescheduled due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
The North and South Hampshire teams will feature cricketers from the Southern Electric Premier League and Hampshire Cricket League, with the Heroes XI being serving forces personnel and veterans from the area.
For more information, people can go to cricket4heroes.co.uk.