"There's only two other players that are comfortable with being winners." - Ronnie O'Sullivan

The Sky’s The Limit

Jamie Curtis-Barrett is now into his second season on the World Snooker Tour, but away from the baize he has been doing tremendous charity work, to raise money for the Pink Rose Cancer Suite at Grimsby hospital, in memory of his wife Leanne.

Curtis-Barrett was inspired to chase his dream to play on the tour after tragically losing the mother to his two children, Leanne, to breast cancer last year. He decided to enter Q School in the following months and came through to earn his professional status for the first time.

The 33-year-old has been taking on challenges to raise money for the Pink Rose Suite, including a skydive from 10,000 feet. It was a high-octane activity which he didn’t expect to be doing and the amount raised has exceeded all his expectations.

Curtis-Barrett said: “If somebody said to me two years ago that I would be doing a skydive, I would have thought no chance. However, since the passing of Leanne it has completely changed me as a person. I am willing to push the boat out and do more things like that. I suppose that is one thing I can tick off the bucket list. It was an amazing feeling really.

“We have also done an exhibition night with Ken Doherty and Allan Taylor. Overall, I had hoped to get something between £500 and £1000. We have now actually raised £12,100. The generosity of people has been incredible. I never thought it would be that much money, but I am willing to get my hands dirty and try to do even more. Hopefully that money can help give someone an opportunity to make their life a bit more positive, or even completely turn it around.”

Curtis-Barrett pays tribute to the charity each time he steps up to the baize by sporting a pink backing to his waistcoat and using a pink and black embroidered cue case.

“The pink waistcoat is a way of paying tribute to Leanne as well as giving back to the Pink Rose Suite and what brilliant things they do for people suffering with breast cancer. I hope it sends out that message,” he said.

“There are times when it would be easy to become selfish if you miss a ball or lose a match. It is a good way to bring things back down to earth. There’s no reason to feel any pressure. Putting on that waistcoat I feel like Leanne is out there with me and nothing else matters. If I come out as a winner then brilliant. If not then it doesn’t matter and I will go again.”

The Grimsby potter is now well into his two-year tour card afforded by coming through Q School last season. Curtis-Barrett was one of the leading players in the amateur ranks, but admits the adjustment to the professional game has been a huge learning curve. He is now focussed on getting wins under his belt and pushing on in the world rankings.

“It’s been a massive change from playing at the top end of the amateur game,” he said. “Although the draws haven’t been that kind to me, I have been playing against the people I have always wanted to face. It has been tough, but I love it and if I want to progress I have to start beating some of the top players. The first four or five matches I wasn’t anywhere near where I needed to be and it was a big eye opener. As I have gone on I have become more accustomed to how I need to play.

“At the end of the day, 18 months ago I wouldn’t have expected to be on the tour, so everything is a massive bonus really. I need to take one match at a time and see what happens, but if I end up dropping off the tour at the end of this season then I will just have to go back to the drawing board. One good tournament can change everything though. Barry Hearn has given players like me a brilliant opportunity.”