Charity fundraisers discuss their 'highly emotive' walk
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BBC Breakfast have been following the emotional journey of three men who undertook a 300-mile suicide awareness walk. Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen walked between their homes in Cumbria, Manchester, and Norfolk raising money for charity Papyrus. The trio took on the challenge in a bid to raise awareness after losing their daughters to suicide. BBC viewers were left feeling emotional after hearing the stories of the three men and seeing them complete their journey.
Andy, Mike, and Tim finished their walk on Saturday morning and BBC Breakfast were on hand to chat to them as they crossed the finish line.
After completing the 300-mile walk, Tim said: “We’re doing this for a reason, to raise that awareness, and people need support out there.”
Speaking about how it felt to hear stories from other families who have sadly experienced similar losses, Tim said: “Highly emotive, you know, it’s straight through the heart.
“These people are so brave to tell their stories, but this is what we’re about isn’t it?
“You know, open and honest supportive conversation,” he explained.
When asked what they were thinking as they finished the walk with a crowd cheering them on, Mike replied: “We were thinking about our girls, you know, Sophie, Emily, and Beth.
“But, we’re also thinking about everyone else’s kids as well. You know, young people,” he added.
Andy commented: “There’s been so many people that we’ve talked to that have lost their children, not just recently, going back many years.
“So, this thing carries on for decades, you don’t lose it. We’ve always got a hole in our lives that are our girls.
“But, it’s been fantastic to actually share some times with other people and help people along the way,” he explained.
BBC Breakfast viewers quickly took to Twitter to praise the trio and share their thoughts.
“Omg I’m emotional wreck #threedadswalking @BBCBreakfast Andy Tim Mike #BBCBreakfast amazing proud of you all,” @shaheen40514285 remarked.
@JimBlower wrote: “Middle aged dads, breaking the mould, dealing with their grief and making a difference for others – great to see. #BBCBreakfast.”
@JudeTaylor25 said: “Bless their hearts. Watching you on #BBCBreakfast with a tear in my eye. The little doggie too, he walked in memory of the girls, Sophie, Emily and Beth. #mental health #3DadsWalking.”
“Huge amounts of respect for 3 Dad’s Walking. Bravo gents. #Respect #3Dadswalking #BBCBreakfast,” @VoicesKev added.
So far the three dads have raised more than £400,000 for suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
Among those who donated were James Bond star Daniel Craig and actress Nicole Kidman, who each gave £10,000.
Meanwhile, many members of the public donated money to the cause while the trio undertook their charity walk.
Some individuals and families across the country joined the men for parts of their challenge, with many sharing their own stories in a bid to encourage more people to open up about the issue.
If you have been affected by any of these issues you can call the Samaritans helpline: 116 123 or visit their website www.samaritans.org
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
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