Merstham woman's London Marathon mission

First published in News

A woman from Merstham will be pounding the streets of the capital in this year's London Marathon in a very special fundraising mission.

Lydia Smith, 20, will be running the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 13, in memory of a former work colleague who committed suicide, and for her mum.

Lydia's marathon will be raising money for the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.

She said she aims to raise awareness of the help the charity provides to young people not coping with life.

Lydia said: “I shall be running in memory of a former work colleague who took his own life at just 23 years, as well as for my mum, whose brother died by suicide when I was just a tiny tot.”

She said: “PAPYRUS does great work raising awareness of the help that is available and reducing the stigma that surrounds suicide. “Stigma makes it embarrassing for young men in particular to seek help, because they feel they should be strong and able to cope. “The charity is smaller than many of the popular charities that many marathon runners choose, but every day it helps young people in despair who call its helpline.”

Lydia said: “I was lucky to get a place through my job at the Dorking Virgin Money Store. “I am not an experienced runner, more of a ‘gymer,’ but have been training hard, including the 20-miler at Dunsfold Aerodrome.”

Aanika Dhillon, fundraising campaign manager at PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, said: “The Virgin Money London Marathon is an amazing effort by Lydia, helping us to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented and to extend our work with young people in schools and the community, encouraging them to talk about mental well-being and, above all, to seek help when they feel they are not coping.

“Nothing must diminish our resolve to prevent young suicide and from doing all we can to enhance the emotional resilience of young people, and those who care for them. “PAPYRUS is determined to make known the scale of this social issue and to help to reduce the number of young people who die by suicide.”

PAPYRUS chief executive Ged Flynn said: “One young suicide is too many - over 1,600 is a national scandal.

“We are delighted that Lydia is supporting our work.”

People can support Lydia's marathon with a donation online at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/lydiasmith13 Every year in the UK, between 600 and 800 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 take their own lives - a number equivalent to the population of a small secondary school. Under the age of 35, the number rises to well over 1,600. Three quarters of them are young men. In England and Wales alone, around 24,000 attempted suicides are made by 10 to 19-year-olds - one every 20 minutes. Although fortunately many are reached before it is too late, suicide remains the main cause of death in young people under the age of 35 in the UK.

For more details email: pat@papyrus-uk.org The PAPYRUS national helpline HOPELineUK number is: 0800 068 41 41.

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