Parents of gambling addict who took own life to receive royal accolades

Bereaved parents of a young man who took his life after becoming addicted to gambling are set to receive royal accolades at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

Jack Ritchie took his life in 2017 at the age of 24 after becoming addicted to gambling while in the sixth form at school.

His parents, Liz and Charles Ritchie, will both receive MBEs at the investiture after setting up the charity Gambling with Lives in 2018.

The couple, from Sheffield, have long argued that gambling-related suicide is directly linked to addictive betting products and the industry’s “predatory” marketing practices.

Pride of Britain Awards 2022 – London

Kate Garraway is one of a number of celebrities set to receive a royal accolade at Windsor Castle on Wednesday (Yui Mok/PA)

Liz Ritchie said: “We never wanted to be here, but we gratefully accept these awards as recognition of the families who walk with us to warn others about the dangers of gambling.

“Most of all, these awards mean the many who died, like our son Jack, have been seen.”

Charles Ritchie said: “Thanks to the campaigning of the Gambling with Lives families, in April, the Government announced reforms that would never have happened otherwise. These awards are for all the bereaved families and all those they’ve lost.”

Others who will be at Windsor Castle include Kate Garraway and Grayson Perry.

Garraway was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for her services to broadcasting, journalism and charity.

Reacting to the news that she had been awarded the royal accolade, the 56-year-old said on Good Morning Britain in January: “I actually feel very awkward about it all really, I don’t know why, because I’m thrilled to bits and incredibly honoured.”

She added: “But you just sort of think, ‘What? Me?’ And then you think it’s not real.”

Notably, Grayson Perry will receive a knighthood at the investiture for his services to the arts.

The 63-year-old artist, writer and broadcaster, who is known for his tapestries, ceramic works and cross-dressing, was made a Knight Bachelor for services to the arts in the New Year Honours list.

After finding out about his accolade, he told the Radio Times his knighthood outfit will not outshine other potential honourees on the day.

“I have intuition around the language of dress, by which I mean to say, I’m pretty expert. There is a line, I wouldn’t go dressed as a clown,” Sir Grayson said.

Also receiving MBEs on Wednesday are professional footballers Andrew Robertson and Jennifer Beattie for their services to association football, as well as Robertson’s work with charity and young people.

Premier League winner Robertson, 29, founded AR26, a charity formed to help vulnerable young people with their mental and physical health in 2020.

Former Real Madrid and Tottenham footballer Gareth Bale will also be receiving an MBE.