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Fundraiser’s 5,000-mile suicide prevention walk reaches Lincoln

A charity fundraiser is mid-way through his 5,000 mile charity walk across all 86 UK counties.

Irishman Colm Farrell (47), or ‘Hazard’ as he is affectionately known, began his fundraising journey on July 22, 2013, from Caithness at the very tip of Scotland.

With a Land’s Ends finish line in sight, Colm still has around 2,300 miles to go and he’s relying on the hospitality of strangers along the way.

The walk is in aid of suicide prevention charity Console, who offer counselling, prevention, intervention and postvention services and support.

After losing several close friends to suicide, Colm went on a mission to raise awareness of the affects on sufferers, families and the wider community.

Colm will complete the challenge armed only with a rucksack full of clothes, a one-person tent, a mobile phone and a Samsung Galaxy tablet which was donated for the journey.

By using social media to spread the word, offers of food, shelter and support along the way have been plentiful and Colm has only had to pitch his tent once.

Photo: Emily Norton
Photo: Emily Norton

“It all started in my home town in Ireland when a couple of close friends of mine took their own lives”, Colm told The Lincolnite.

“Initially I was concerned because it seems to be happening a lot in the area. I wanted to raise awareness in Ireland because a big problem is the fact that it’s such a taboo subject.

“When it came down to it, it wasn’t just a common thing in my area, it’s everywhere.

“I posed the idea to walk the UK counties on Facebook and Twitter after Console expanded and opened services here in England.

“In the few days after posting the idea, I got 160 offers from total strangers offering me places to stay. Ever since, my mobile has not stopped ringing and I have been lucky enough to get a place to stay every night bar one.

“In terms of weather and winter obstacles I’ve been really lucky, in fact of the days walking only about 5 of them have been wet, it always seems to be sunny wherever I am!”

“There’s an average of 12,000 suicides a year in the UK. The knock-on effect of that hits around a quarter of a million people.”

He added: “The answer isn’t for GPs to continue prescribing anti-depressants, it’s support for charities like Console who offer one-to-one- consultation and help.

“The people I have met have been incredible and the stories I will take away will always stay with me. People really open up to me and share their stories and it’s amazing how many people have been affected by this.

“It’s time that politicians did something about it and I want to play a part in highlighting the worsening issues.

Colm is almost half way to raising his £5,000 target. Those wishing to donate can do so by visiting his JustGiving page.

You can also donate by texting hazz66 £2 to 70070.

Follow Colm’s journey on Facebook and Twitter, where he regularly posts photos and stories of his travels.