Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, has praised the work of YGAM co-founders Anne and Keith Evans congratulating them for their commitment to help improve awareness of gambling addiction which, she believes has helped to save lives.
After suffering for around 25 years with a gambling addiction, Anne Evans’ son Alan tragically committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 40. Since then, Anne has worked tirelessly to help educate others on the potential consequences of gambling and quickly gained the support of her local MP. In 2014, Anne co-founded the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) and six years on, the charity is collaboratively delivering a £10 million national education program aiming to reach over 3 million young people.
A former Minister in Gordon Brown’s Government, Dame Rosie 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.”
In 2016, Dame Rosie nominated Anne to receive an NHS National Award for Excellence in Public Health and Wellbeing for work done regarding gambling problems.
Reflecting on the past decade, 86-year old Anne said: “I am determined to make sure other mothers and families do not have to experience the hurt that I did. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has listened, supported, and hugged me over the past 10 years. You have helped make a mother very proud.”
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.”
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.”