AN AMATEUR footballer from Warwickshire is encouraging his team to keep active after a player took his own life during the first lockdown.
Luke Young, who runs Warwick Printing Football Club, has taken up running to raise money for mental health charity Mind after his friend and team member Nick Ford, known as ‘Fordy’, committed suicide.
The 26-year-old, who is a graphic designer for his family business the club is named for, is running 5km every day and inviting one friend or team mate to join him for each run.
The dad-of-one aims to help boost the moods and wellbeing of those around him and highlight the importance of talking.
Luke told the Observer: “It encourages people to get out and be active as I think any form of exercise can help massively, especially with everything which is going on at the moment, and also encouraging people to talk to friends, family and seek help from a charity like Mind. I just want to be able to help as many people as possible and try to pump some positivity into people’s lives.
“Unfortunately over the years I know people who committed suicide, the more recent one being a good friend of mine Fordy during the first lockdown and I do not want anybody to feel so low and alone that they feel they have to take their own life.”
Luke decided to take action after a number of friends shared their struggles by encouraging them out on a run with him.
He added: “I just feel the least I can do is try to support a fantastic charity which I know will help so many people out, and also to show my friends that I’m there for them, and that they can take it in turns with me each night to get out for a social distanced jog, switch off for a bit, or have a chat about anything and everything. I’ve run with a different person everyday so far and my schedule for the rest of lockdown is booked out with a different person each run and every single one of them has messaged me after saying how great they feel, how they want to help other people out etc so it’s very rewarding for me knowing I’m already making a bit of a difference.”
So far Luke has raised nearly £900 of his £1,000 target, although hopes to increase the amount if the support continues.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/luke-young9 to donate to Luke’s cause.
Those struggling with their mental health can visit samaritans.org to talk or for more information.