Former Worcestershire batsman Elliott Wilson is forging a new career as an independent financial advisor with the help of the PCA despite being hindered by a chronic back complaint.
The PCA’s support, part of the Association’s educational funding for past and present players, allowed Elliott to gain qualifications in corporate finance and financial advising.
He is now working as an independent financial advisor from his base in Cambridge and an office in St Albans even though he can only sit for an hour at a time and then needs to lie down for a similar length of time.
The discomfort is a legacy of the dreadful circumstances that ended Wilson’s promising county career after he had made 779 runs, including two centuries, for Worcestershire in his first full season for them in 2000.
“When I was 22 I went over to Australia to play an off-season of grade cricket,” Wilson said.
“While I was over there I had an injection into a disc in my back and one of the medical staff, who had flu, coughed on the needle.
“I actually got flu in my disc. It turned pretty bad when it got into the bone, they had to cut out the infection, and I needed a double fusion.
“It really was unpleasant. I had four months in hospital that year lying down because my spine was infected.
“I was pretty ill and, sadly, that finished my cricket career which was disappointing.”
Wilson was unable to work for almost a decade after he retired from playing but he put his time to good use by becoming a voracious reader of books and also developing his skills as an artist, he is still represented by a London gallery, and has had multiple solo shows.
“To start with I wasn’t very well for a significant amount of time. I had to have a lot of operations over a number of years so I really wasn’t in a fit enough state to even consider going into a work environment. The infected area had caused the nerves to become so sensitive that I had to rip pages out of a magazine to hold them, as even the weight of a magazine would cause inflammation,” Wilson said.
“It sounds odd but the only way I could move forward was mentally and so I ended up reading a ridiculously large amount of books.
“I set myself the challenge of reading for three hours a day and then got that up to four hours a day . I pretty much did that for a decade. I’m a pretty normal reader which is 40 pages an hour so, if you do the maths, that works out at around 1,000 books over a decade.
“So I did use that period to move forward. I really needed to achieve something and I did that through learning.
“I also did some art work in that time. I couldn’t do more than maybe a couple of hours of painting a day because holding my arm up affected the damaged nerves in my back.”
Wilson enjoyed his art but needed a regular income which is why he decided to become a financial advisor and sought help from the PCA to help fund his training.
He said: “People say: ‘why are you going into finance?’ but the reality is you have to earn a living. if you don’t have the appropriate insurance in place which I didn’t have and if you don’t have family wealth behind you which I didn’t have it really is quite scary how little money you get from the government.
“I just thought: right, how can I get round that? I thought that being a financial advisor really suited my situation because I could work around my problem.
“I could take meetings and stagger them through the day to give me the chance to lie down which I need to do.
“It works for me but it has all been made possible by the PCA funding which I think is a terrific initiative.
“It really helped me knowing that the qualification which costs thousands would be paid by the PCA. They really did make it possible. The drive to get the qualification or to do the reading was never going to be a problem, but financing it was, and the PCA stepped up to that challenge, I’m so grateful. Thank you to everyone who has ever raised money for the PCA
“It gives a solution to a problem. It can seem a pretty negative experience having to ask for funding but if it is asking for funding to get a qualification then I think it’s a pretty positive experience.”