Reformed gambler supporting others

Roy and Yvonne Pike
Roy and Yvonne Pike

An addiction to gambling resulted in Roy Pike losing jobs, relationships and serving two spells in prison.

Now, nine months since placing his last bet, Roy has set up a support group in Skegness to help others struggling with the same problem.

Roy, 44, has suffered with a gambling addiction all his adult life.

Despite receiving treatment programmes, therapy and attending support groups he could not permanently break the habit.

It was only after moving to Chapel St Leonards from his home city of Nottingham two years ago that life started to change.

Roy and wife Yvonne joined the Storehouse Church in Skegness where he received the support to help address the issue.

He said: “In the past when people talk to me about my gambling addiction I often felt I was being got at. Here it was different.

“Previously I would stop gambling for a while then got into a place where I felt I was alone and it would start up again.”

He added: “I will always be a recovering gambling addict, but I hope I never do it again.”

An obsession with betting on horse racing dominated Roy’s life for decades.

He served two month jail sentences in the early 1990s and in 2009 for stealing to fund his gambling habit.

Looking back he sees those experiences as amongst the lowest points of a long and difficult journey.

Roy has set up a support group called TOM (Time, Opportunity, Money) based at The Storehouse and Hope House, Mablethorpe.

Roy said: “More than anything it was escapism, you leave all your problems at the front door of the bookmakers. Then when you come back out you know you have lost your money are not paying the rent and have nothing to live on.”

He added: “I looked into the assistance offered round here and there is not a lot available.

“It is useful to have someone to talk to and point you in the right direction.

“If I can help just one person then it will have been worthwhile.”