Having waited for more than five months to complete his 10km charity run, Shaun Mayall (10) has finally undertaken the challenge and raised over £5,000 for Suicide Bereavement Support (SBS). The schoolboy from Cockermouth sadly lost his dad, Andy, to suicide in 2014 (read more: https://www.sbs.org.uk/blog/10-by-10-shauns-10k-running-challenge-in-memory-of-his-dad) and decided to honour his memory by challenging himself to run 10km in December. Lockdown, however, put paid to his plans and the youngster was forced to delay.
Today, the sun was shining and the birds were singing; the perfect day for the children at Fairfield Primary to cheer Shaun on his run. Many of them took part, some in costume, with Shaun dressed as his dad’s favourite Beano character, Dennis the Menace. A guest appearance was made by Shaun’s faithful friend, Google the labradoodle, who was today known as Gnasher. “Some of my teachers took part too,” said Shaun; “Mr Steele [Head] ran, Mr Gale ran as Batman and Mrs Winter ran in a red tutu.” The atmosphere was electric.
Shaun’s story touched almost 300 people, who each donated to raise £5,000 for people in Cumbria who have been bereaved by suicide. Shaun would love to thank each and every person who donated: “I can’t believe how generous people have been and I want to thank you all for using some of your money to donate; just think about how many people you’re helping.”
Shaun attracted some high-profile supporters; legendary mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, as well as the Prime Minister, who awarded Shaun the Points of Light award in recognition of his exceptional service in fundraising.
“I want to say a massive thank you to my friends at school,” said Shaun. “Grace has made a poster for me, Emily has been really supportive ever since I had the idea and Mac and Thomas have been really good friends.”
A day to remember
While all eyes were on Shaun, every child at Fairfield Primary got involved. Chris Steele, Head, said, “It has been a brilliant day at Fairfield School. Shaun’s quest to raise money for charity has really captivated our school community. It was brilliant to see Shaun complete his 10km challenge in school and he was motivated by hundreds of children cheering him along the way. All of the children, particularly his classmates, have enjoyed the day and the weather was just perfect. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Well done, Shaun!”
In spite of the fun, today has proved emotional for Shaun and his mum, Helen, who will always carry the memory of Andy in their hearts. Andy’s presence was felt in a poignant moment when one of the balloons brought by Shaun’s aunty drifted loose, sailing up and away: “Andy’s got that one,” assured Helen.
Shaun’s fundraising will help support other bereaved children
To put it in perspective, the heart-breaking statistic of losing someone each week on average to suicide in Cumbria is greater than those lost to road traffic accidents. Having operated under the wing of national charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide for nine years, SBS was founded over a year ago and builds on that experience to focus on offering a truly local service to people living in Cumbria and surrounding areas including North Lancashire and South Scotland.
Shaun’s fundraising efforts will make a huge impact, explained John Brown from SBS: “Shaun has done a stellar job of winning the hearts and minds of the local community, he’s such a resilient and inspiring young man. Suicide is a tragic fact of life that affects so many people, and we think it’s important that Shaun’s family story is reflected in the service that his funding will deliver. Shaun’s gift of £5,000 will launch a new service that can support children who have also been bereaved by suicide. He is a true inspiration and his kindness will be felt by the many families who need to call on Suicide Bereavement Support.”
Show your support for Shaun
Shaun’s fundraising page is still open, so if you would like to help families who have been bereaved by suicide, you can donate via JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/shauns10K?invite=true.
Support for people touched by suicide
If you are struggling with the death of someone who has taken their own life and need someone to listen to your experience and offer you support, please do get in touch. You can call the SBS helpline on 07572 975 721 (John) or 07896 703 757 (Karan). You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org , or you can visit www.sbs.org.uk or Facebook and Twitter at @CumbriaSBS.