Using humour for serious message

Published on: 24 Mar 2017

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RUNNING partners are hoping to use humour to drive home a serious message.

Dave Hellings, from Downend, and Claire Phillips, from Fishponds, are taking part in the Bristol 10K in May in support of CALM - an award winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide.

But the duo are planning to do it in style - Dave by dressing as a chicken and Claire by donning an egg outfit.

They hope their unusual attire will attract attention and lead to more donations for one of the country's lesser known charities. 

CALM - Campaign Against Living Miserably - aims to raise awareness of male suicide and provides free and confidential support and information to men of all ages who are down or need help. 

The charity is close to Dave's heart as his father took his own life just over 10 years ago.

Dave, 36, said on average men in the UK are three times more likely to take their own lives than women.

"I've been directly affected by the issue as my father suffered from depression and committed suicide. Men don't really talk about depression and that's part of the problem. I suffered with a bout of depression when my father's death sunk in about a year later. The charity wasn't about then but thankfully I got through it. 

"I've looked at CALM's website to find out what they do and can see that they are doing some really positive work and providing a good service to people who need support.  I have had a few friends who have suffered with depression recently so I pointed them towards the site."

Dave and Claire, who are both single, became running partners after becoming friends on Facebook because they both attended the same school, Whitefield in Fishponds.

They meet up a couple of times a week and run on average four miles each session.

Dave, a civil servant, said: "I did run  a lot a few years ago but had knee surgery so had to stop running. I've done all sorts of races - marathons, 10Ks, ultra marathons. Now I go to the gym in my lunch-break and run with Claire once or twice a week.

"Claire wants to complete the 10K in under an hour but I'll be happy to just get to the end!

"Dressing up to run the 10K seemed like fun. Both of us have never run in fancy dress before but we thought it might get a bit more attention. As it's going to be a bit more difficult to run in costumes, we thought people might be more willing to sponsor us."

Claire, 37, a client services representative, said: "We have set ourselves a target of £500 but anything that we can raise will be lovely. Reaching £500 would be amazing though.

"I thought rather than supporting the usual cancer charities, we should go for something different. A lot of people suffer with mental illness, especially men, so it's good to help raise awareness of the charity. 

"Men don't talk about things but there are charities out there that can help them."

You can help Dave and Claire reach their target by donating via their JustGiving page. For details visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ChickenVsEgg

To find out more about CALM, visit https://www.thecalmzone.net/

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