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Youngsters to benefit from marathon runner’s legacy

Matt Campbell, who died whilst running the London Marathon (North News and Pictures)

HUNDREDS of young people are to benefit from funds raised in memory of a runner who died 3.7 miles before the finish line of the 2018 London Marathon (Sun 22 April).

The incredible response to Matt Campbell’s death, by people from around world, led to over 31,000 messages of support and to donations currently totalling £440,000 on his JustGiving Page.

The 29-year-old professional chef from Cumbria was hoping to raise £3,000 for a local youth charity he supported, Brathay Trust.

Now Matt’s family has agreed it will fund a Resilience 3.7 Programme, run by Brathay whose mission is to improve the life chances of children and young people. The schools based programme is for pupils struggling with mental ill health, building their resilience to cope with difficult times in their lives.

Students from the school running 3.7 miles in memory of Matt. (North News and Pictures)

And yesterday (Weds 10 Oct) 550 young people helped to launch it at a special event at Matt’s old school, Kirkbie Kendal School, in South Cumbria. Twelve pupils from the school are amongst the first to benefit from the programme.

Simon Berry, High Sheriff of Cumbria, told pupils that resilience was critical to their development. He also said the thousands of runners and donors who had contributed to Matt Campbell’s fund would be very proud of the 3.7 programme designed to address this key issue for young people.

Brathay’s CEO Godfrey Owen, at the event. (North News and Pictures)

The head of Brathay Trust, Godfrey Owen says Matt’s legacy is remarkable legacy, a result of people finding inspiring ways to finish his marathon for him.

“Young people who struggle with low self-esteem, poor resilience or other mental health challenges including anxiety and stress will now get extra help through school” said Godfrey Owen.

“There will also be support for those who have poor relationships with peers and adults and have little chance to take part in positive activities. The Resilience 3.7 Programme will boost pupils’ self- belief, their ability to cope with change – and recognising they have choices, as well as goal-setting and participating in healthy activities. There will be options to focus on the outdoors, conservation, healthy living or creativity.

“Matt is a great example of a young person who explored new opportunities and experiences” added Mr Owen.

“We know this plays a big part in increasing resilience which is all about not giving up, working hard to achieve your goals, coping with life’s knocks and knowing where to get help if needed. Resilience is a core part of mental wellbeing.

“Today was a great event and a fitting tribute to Matt Campbell. We asked all the young people to try something new and they took us at our word. That included everything from new food, to creating digital art, to judo and karaoke. The 3.7 programme is all about young people taking on new challenges and gaining self-confidence and self-esteem in the process” said Godfrey Owen.

Students from the school enjoying the numerous events at the launch. (North News and Pictures)

The Resilience 3.7 programme includes eight single day sessions away from school, plus a weekend residential in the Lake District, spread across one term. The programme is open to secondary schools across the north of England. Between 50 and 100 per cent of the cost will be met by the legacy fund. Brathay expects to work with 800 young people over the next three years using this legacy.

Anyone wanting to find out more can contact Jenni MacDuff, Brathay’s Head of Children and Young People’s Services [email protected] and visit the website brathay.org.uk

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