James Taylor: Former England cricketer joins charity initiative in schools

James Taylor taking a Chance to Shine session with primary school children
Taylor played seven Tests and 27 one-day internationals for England before retiring on 12 April, 2016

When James Taylor was forced to announce his retirement from cricket a year ago, because of a serious heart condition, his life dramatically changed.

The 27-year-old former Nottinghamshire and England player bowed out after being diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) after a sustained attack that lasted several hours.

Surviving that, he says, is one of his "proudest moments".

"I should have probably died, but I didn't," Taylor told BBC World Service's Stumped programme.

"What I had, most people are passed out after 10 minutes. And I did it for near on six and a half hours."

So, a year on from that day, he might not be able to take part in competitive sport any more (apart from the odd round of golf), but he has found a new passion - helping others through his experience.

Taylor is working with a cricketing charity to teach children about what he has learnt in his career and the challenges he's faced in the past 12 months.

"Working with charities like Chance to Shine gives me an opportunity to have a positive impact on people's lives," says the man from Leicestershire.

"Cricket's so powerful, it gives you confidence playing in team sport, making friends, learning how to be more resilient in teams - it's so important. That's why the message of cricket is so powerful."

And it's that word "resilience" that sums up what he will be hoping to pass on to schoolchildren.

Taylor will take part in assemblies and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PHSE) lessons to inspire children and help them learn how to cope with setbacks in life.

Girls and boys taking part in a Chance to Shine event with James Taylor
"Often girls are better than the boys at that age, because technically they are a little bit more advanced because they listen a bit more," says Taylor

"Over my 10-year, professional international career, I've learnt so many lessons that are so powerful in everyday life, and especially now I've got the added perspective from what's happened to me," he added.

"I've always had resilience with my cricket, and now through battling through this.

"I'm just trying to teach them a little bit about resilience and if you get knocked down, get back up again and try again."

Telling his story

In 2017, Chance to Shine aims to reach around 500,000 young people with nearly half of these expected to be girls.

Taylor - who has already taken part in a book event for the charity - will be visiting a school a month through England and Wales from the start of the summer term.

"My story itself is an interesting one - the children are fascinated about it," he says.

"They're anything from six to 16. If you can learn a little bit about resilience at that age it's certainly going to help you as you grow up.

"Going into these schools - helping the kids any way I can and concentrating on the things that you can do not the things that you can't - is really important to me."

Children raise their hands to ask James Taylor questions during a Chance to Shine event
Chance to Shine has brought cricket to more than three million children in 13,000 state schools and local communities since 2005

You can hear more from James Taylor on Stumped on BBC World Service on Saturday, 15 April at 03:30 BST.

Listen or catch-up via bbcworldservice.com/stumped