During snooker's heyday in the 1980s, Willie Thorne was one of the game's best-known and well-liked players. He won 14 major titles and, at the height of the game's popularity, famously appeared in the classic Chas 'n Dave video 'Snooker Loopy' ( Old Willie Thorne, 'is 'air's all gawn!A"). But behind the happy-go-lucky smile lurked a dark secret. Willie was a gambling addict and by the end of his career he'd blown GBP1.5 million to the bookmakers and casinos of Britain. As the money from snooker dried up his destructive addiction showed no sign of abating and his life spiralled out of control. Desperation and depression took hold of him, culminating in a suicide attempt when he came close to ending it all. In Taking a Punt on My Life Willie bares his soul, talking openly and frankly about his life - the good times and the bad - his talent, his addiction, the dark days and his suicide bid and his inspirational recovery from the brink. Brutally honest and at times painful to read, the book is by turns harrowing, uplifting and in places hilariously funny as he re-lives the good times and the great characters of snooker's heyday.
Willie Thorne was born in Leicester in 1954 and went on to become one of Britain's most popular and recognisable sportsmen. His skill and entertaining style took him to the top of the professional snooker tree during the boom years for the game in the 1980s. His career spanned more than three decades, during which time he amassed 14 tournament wins worldwide and became famous for his ability to put together maximum 147 breaks. Since retiring from the game he has become heavily involved with Champions UK, a company specialising in marketing,PR, celebrity and event management. He is a regular snooker commentator for the BBC and Sky television and has also taken part in various TV entertainment shows, including Strictly Come Dancing. He is married to Jill and lives in Leicestershire.