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24-hour trek raises £4,000 in memory of popular Newport father

By Rob Smith | Newport | News | Published:

The family and friends of a popular young Shropshire man who took his own life spent 24 hours trekking up and down a famous hill to raise thousands of pounds for his daughters.

Standing at the foot of the Wrekin after their 24-hour trek are, from left: Tim Stevens, Ryan Whitehead, Rikki Smith, Jordan Hanson and Marc Stallard. Kneeling are, from left: Miles Lerwill, Amanda Heywood, Harper-Jae Heywood (seven), Eden Heywood (four) and Lauren Sheffield

Rob Heywood was 25 when he died earlier this summer. The Newport man had two daughters under the age of eight and the tragedy devastated his close-knit family.

Rob's mother Debbie said she wanted to raise some money to help the two girls when they are older, and also to encourage people to talk about their mental health issues and to seek support.

So members of the family and some of Rob's friends set out to walk up and down the Wrekin, one of his favourite walking spots, in a relay for 24 hours – from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday.

They all pitched in, some of them walking up and down 18 times over the course of the day.

Rob with his daughters

Debbie herself walked several times before looking after the collection bucket. Between collections, a generous donation from the Wynn Foundation and an online fundraiser, more than £4,000 has already been raised.

It will go to a fund for Rob's daughters Harper-Jae, seven, and Eden, four, as well as the Cruse Bereavement Care charity.

Debbie said: "I can't really describe just how we're so appreciative of the tremendous effort from the main people doing the relay, the donations, sponsorship and just total support over the whole time.

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"We want people to try and talk about mental health more, as unfortunately it does affect a lot of people and it's nothing to be ashamed of if you need to talk."

Learn more and donate at bit.ly/2FCIXlX.

  • If you have been affected by this article, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit Samaritans.org.
Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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