Pro-Chancellor, Marcus Trescothick was born in Keynsham on Christmas day, 1975. In his birth announcement under the headline “On The Team For 1991?” his father said “…he will have every encouragement to become a cricketer when he grows up.” In 1991, Marcus, aged 15, played cricket for his school, Avon Schools, West of England Schools, Keynsham and Somerset Under 19s, compiling a staggering 4000 runs over the summer, and receiving the “Outstanding Young Cricketer of the Year” award from The Cricketer magazine. He was selected for England Under 17s and awarded a professional contract with Somerset CC in 1992. In over 800 matches for Somerset, he has scored more than 28,000 runs, and holds records for the number of centuries scored, and outfield catches taken for the county. His distinguished and continuing county career is now combined with expert commentary for Sky Televsion.
International recognition came with England A in 1999, and with the Senior team in 2000. He had an excellent International career, scoring heavily and dependably. In 76 tests he scored 5825 runs at an average of 44, including 14 centuries and 29 half-centuries. When England regained the Ashes for the first time in 20 years in the legendary 2005 series, Marcus averaged over 40 and he was awarded an MBE for his part in the victory. In a perfect world, his international career would have been extended for many more years. It is easy to believe that he could have doubled his international tally and, conceivably, still be playing Test cricket now. However, this was not to be.
In 2006, episodes of anxiety and major depression forced his withdrawal from international cricket. He made the England tour to Australia in 2006-7, but his illness forced him to come home. Recurrences of his illness prevented a return to international cricket, and he retired from it in 2008. In that year, he released an autobiography - Coming Back to Me. Over half its chapters document his fight with anxiety and depression, and its consequences for his career achievements and aspirations. Tellingly, this was done without self-pity or self-absorption but with openness and honesty. In his words, the book was not intended “...for people to use as a self-help book, to say this is how you cope with anxiety and depression [but] to get mental health issues out in the open…”. His willingness to bring these issues into the public spotlight, was widely commended for its honesty and integrity. Regarding his departure from the Australian tour, he wrote “I was the lucky one. My illness turned out to be my cure. I had no choice but to get out, and re-evaluate and take back my life.” Suresh Menon at CricInfo said “The illness that dare not speak its name - mental illness - is discussed with an openness that is heroic.” Jo Harman in AllOutCricket wrote “..Trescothick’s candour not only empowered those who suffer from mental illness to come forward, it allowed those who don’t to have a better understanding of what it is and how it affects people.” The book won the William Hill Sports Book of the year, and resulted in Marcus becoming a Patron of Anxiety UK. He continues to speak publicly and openly about mental health issues, and has been a constant advocate for campaigns to end stigma and discrimination against people with these issues.
Pro-Chancellor, for outstanding services to cricket, and for his openness and candour in helping and continuing to help others with mental health issues, I present to you Mr Marcus Trescothick MBE, who is eminently worthy to receive the Degree of Doctor of Health, honoris causa.