Grand Pier supports ‘Walking Out of Darkness’ event in September

Grand Pier supports ‘Walking Out of Darkness’ event in September

Together with North Somerset Council, local charity ‘In Charley’s Memory’, national charity CLASP (Counselling Life Advice Suicide Prevention) and other mental health services across the South West, the event aims to increase mental health awareness and help prevent suicides.

The ‘Walking Out Of Darkness’ event will start and finish at the Beach Lawns in Weston-super-Mare. It combines a 10k walk followed by a Mental Health Festival plus attractions, music and much more. This is the first time ‘Walking Out of Darkness’ has come to Weston-super-Mare following success in London, Birmingham and across the country.

‘In Charley’s Memory’, a local charity based in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, has worked with the event organisers and North Somerset Council to organise the event. Founded by Jo Clement shortly after her son Charley Marks took his own life on 10 September 2014 when suffering from depression and anxiety, ‘In Charley’s Memory’ works to ensure no one suffers the distress of a suicide in the family. The charity currently works with eight schools in Somerset as well as businesses, charities and other organisations providing counselling and teaching mental health first aid.

Dawn Carey, chief operations officer for ‘In Charley’s Memory’, said: "Since Charley passed away, we have found more young people, their parents and schools talking about their concerns relating to mental health and suicide. We provide a variety of services to ensure no one suffers Charley’s experience. Together with local councils, the NHS, schools and other charities we are confident ‘Walking out Of Darkness’ will provide vital and positive mental health wellbeing advice and knowledge.

“I’d like to thank North Somerset Council, Avon and Wiltshire NHS Partnership, Weston College plus all the charities, organisations and services involved for their support.”

‘In Charley’s Memory’ is providing all registered participants with a free RAISE Mental Health Awareness ½ day training course starting in October 2017. To receive the training, you must register for the ‘Walking Out Of Darkness’ event in Weston-super-Mare on Saturday 16 September 2017.

Charlotte Gaylard, events coordinator at the Grand Pier and cousin of Jo Clements, said: “Not a day goes by without a thought of Charley, my family and ‘In Charley’s Memory’. We do not want anyone to feel vulnerable to the point that suicide seems a good option so we’re doing everything we can to raise awareness and knowledge.

“The Grand Pier is an iconic landmark in Weston-super-Mare and the South West and we’re very much looking forward to staging the ‘Walking Out Of Darkness’ event. We hope it will become an annual event which will help unite our local and regional community in making a difference in raising mental health awareness and helping to prevent suicides.

“All those taking part in the event will receive a Grand Pier goody bag with items including a £5 ride voucher and a surprise gift.”

The ‘Walking Out of Darkness’ event will also be attended by Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, who met when Neil talked Jonny out of jumping off Waterloo Bridge in London in 2008. They will be joined several participants from the Royal Foundation ‘Heads Together’ campaign including fitness trainer and mindfulness coach Chevy Rough, who was featured in the BBC One programme Mind Over Marathon. Together they ran this year’s London Marathon for the Royals Heads Together campaign and gained over 10,000 signatures on a petition about making mental health education compulsory in schools, colleges and universities, which will now be debated in Parliament.

After the walk, there will be a Mental Health Festival on the Beach Lawns showcasing local and national mental health and suicide prevention charities and their services; plus, many attractions on the Grand Pier and Seafront for all to enjoy.

Registration for the Walking out Of Darkness event in Weston-super-Mare on Saturday September 16 is £10 per person at www.walkingoutofdarkness.com