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Family fun-day starts conversation about mental health

A local family have organised a family fun-day and rugby derby to raise money for mental health charities in memory of 25-year-old Nathan Christy, who died last year.

Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund has contributed £2,000 to the event on Saturday 19th August, which will go towards hiring a bouncy castle, face painters, candyfloss and popcorn carts and much more.

Noreen and John Christy from Beech Hill lost their son, Nathan, through suicide in July 2016. Since then, with the help of Nathan’s friends and family, over £10,000 has been raised for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a mental health charity dedicated to reducing male suicide.

The event is at Ince Rose Bridge rugby club on Pinfold Street starting at 2pm, with the friendly rugby match kicking-off at 3pm. The teams are made up of Nathan’s friends, family members and other volunteers and the winner’s trophy has been donated by legendary Shaun Edwards O.B.E.

Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities at Wigan Council said: “Talking about mental health is something that many people avoid and I think it’s fantastic that Noreen and her family are bringing this subject to the forefront of people’s minds in such an engaging way.

“By the end of this year, we will have invested £9million back into the community through the fund and not only am I glad to see the money being spent in this way, but I’m honoured to support such an important cause.”

The deputy leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, Ince ward councillor, Janice Sharratt, Cllr Chris Ready and the Mayor and Mayoress of Wigan Borough, Cllr Bill Clarke and Joan Clarke will all attend the event to show their support. There will also be a guest appearance from ex-Wigan Warriors player, Josh Charnley.

The day will be filled with games including a piggy-back horse race and a raffle with prizes such as Go Ape vouchers and a family ticket for Haigh Woodland Park’s high ropes. There will also be information about local mental health services available.

Speaking about the past twelve months, Noreen said: “From the age of 7-18, Nathan loved playing rugby and had stints at both teams. He made many long-standing friendships during this time who suggested we arrange a tribute rugby match in his honour.

“We were overwhelmed with the response we received last year. We raised £3,000 during that day alone, so we have decided to do it all again to exceed this target. We want to encourage people to talk about their mental health openly to reduce the stigma, mental health related GP appointments and A&E presentations.

“I’d like to say thank-you to Wigan Council for their help, to my friends and family for their continued support and also to match organiser and coach, Gary Eccleston for his hard work as without this there would be no game.”

All proceeds from the event will be split equally across four services: The Willow Project, Survivors of Bereavement of Suicide (SOBS), Early Detection and Intervention Team and CALM.

Find out more about the event by following ‘Start Talking; Stop the Stigma’ on Facebook.

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