Simon Thomas has announced that he will leave Sky Sports at the end of the current football season.
His wife Gemma died in December 2017 just three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, leaving Simon and their eight-year-old son Ethan.
At the time, he said he was “crushed with indescribable pain” and he has subsequently spoken passionately on television and social media about his daily battle with the grief of losing Gemma so suddenly, about mental health and how he tries to support Ethan through the aftermath of losing his mother.
In a personal blog, Thomas cited multiple reasons for taking the tough decision to leave his presenting role at Sky Sports after 13 years.
primarily to be able to dedicate any time and energy he needs for Ethan but also because he understandably struggles to find the passion to present football after the life-changing moment gave him a different sense of perspective.
In a post on his ‘A Grief Shared’ website, he signed off saying:
“So for now, this is it. A wonderful, unforgettable thirteen years comes to an end in a way I could never have foreseen or ever wanted.
“But what now? Over the next few months I’m going to be writing a book, and I also want to explore some other broadcasting opportunities. Broadcasting is all I’ve known for the past twenty years, I love it and am not turning my back on it. I also want to plough more time into raising awareness and money for Bloodwise UK.
“Blood cancer took my wife; I have to do something. But most importantly, I’m going to be giving every ounce of energy I have to helping my boy navigate this strange new chapter of life and as a Christian, I have to trust God in this. This is not blind faith, this is real faith – and sometimes, that means stepping out into the unknown.
“Who knows where I may be in a year’s time but for now, God Bless, and I hope to see you on a screen near you one day soon.”
Simon uses his blog to detail that his perspective on the game he loves – “the game I have loved for my whole life, the game I’ve had the amazing privilege of working on for these past few years” – has changed following his loss.
The former Blue Peter presenter also explains very honestly how his financial situation has allowed him to make this decision. It is an option, he recognises, that others less fortunate than he are able to take.
Thomas joined Sky in 2005 after 13 years at the BBC, has worked as a presenter on Sky Sports News and the network’s coverage of EFL and League Cup football.
Most recently he presented Sky Sports’ live Saturday lunchtime Premier League games.
Colleagues past and present paid tribute to him, including Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports:
“Simon has suffered an unspeakable loss and we have done everything we can to ease the burden he is carrying. I spoke to Simon this morning and fully support his decision.
“He is part of our family and always will be even now as he searches for his next path.
“If there is some small positive he can take from this experience it is the courage he has shown in opening up, and for others facing the same challenges I know they will take comfort from his actions and his words”
Sky Sports head of football Gary Hughes added:
“Simon has faced a life-changing situation with the same dignity and courage we saw every day when we worked with him.
“He was a great colleague, an important part of our team, but he’s been really honest in what he wants to do next and we support him.
“The whole team will obviously miss him but we are there to help him when he needs us, and the door is very much open if he felt in the future he wanted to talk to us about coming back.”
Typically brave, dignified, poignant and incredibly honest my friend. I know you’ll make a huge success of the new chapter. Wishing you all the luck in the world. https://t.co/FLC4NlWP1J
— DAVID JONES (@DavidJonesSky) April 27, 2018