Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, has praised the commitment of the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) founders for improving awareness of problem gambling.
Dame Winterton highlighted the work of Anne and Keith Evans, with the charity now delivering a £10 million national education program aiming to reach over 3 million young people.
She said: “It has been an absolute honour to have worked with Anne and Keith over recent years. I have so much admiration for their bravery in the face of personal tragedy and their commitment to helping others is incredibly inspiring.
“Anne and Keith are very wonderful people whose kindness and concern for others is a beacon of light. I strongly believe that their work shaping the magnificent YGAM charity, which safeguards young people from gambling and gaming-related harm, will have saved lives and I am very proud to count them as friends.”
Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM added: “Anne & Keith Evans have been involved in YGAM from the very earliest ideas and they have seen the charity grow, develop and mature to where we are today. Over the years Anne, Keith and I have laughed and cried so much in equal amounts.
“I see the grief Anne, Keith and the family still experience today and take great pride and comfort that we are collectively using our experience in a positive way. Anne, Keith, Alan and the wider family are always at the forefront of our minds and are consistently remembered in everything we do.”
In 2016, Dame Winterton nominated Anne to receive an NHS National Award for Excellence in Public Health and Wellbeing for work done regarding gambling problems.
Matthew Gaskell, Clinical Director of the NHS Northern Gambling Service, said “Anne has become a good friend of mine and of our NHS northern service. She is a very special person. Her story demonstrates how dangerous and insidious gambling addiction can be, and not only impacts the individual but the wider family system and community as well.
“She has emerged from the family tragedy to be a force for good in the world with her story. Each year our service will remember Alan and the family via our annual celebration of recovery.”
This week, Willows published an open YGAM response to the Lords Select Committee report on urgent actions for the gambling sector, stating that educational programmes needed to be at the heart of industry reforms.