Well what a month it has been and I have to say thank you to so many people who have supported my walk during such challenging times with the Ukraine war, covid infections increasing and the cost of living going through the roof!
So I feel very fortunate to have received so much support and publicity from so many different directions and people.
Firstly, the direct support from Shout 85258 has been incredible and it really makes you aware of what a fantastic organisation it is by offering support to so many people.
Work at the stadium has been very busy this month with a number of extra games being played, this has taken up a lot of my spare time which has made getting my steps in a bit of a challenge at times but fortunately Harry Darling kindly took time out with me to walk a few steps before the CUFC v MK Dons fixture at the Abbey Stadium.
Anyway thanks go to Louise Hulland who interviewed me on the Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show which was very chilled, Louise was so helpful in letting me explain why this walk is so important to continue for the funding and the dialog about mental health.
Next to give me a call was Julian Clover & Lucy Milazzo from Cambridge 105 and again it was great interview due to the questions asked by Julian and Lucy who were both very supportive and have offered to join one of the public walks.
Scott MacCallum from The Turf Matters was the next person to come forward to offer an interview about mental Health. This again was refreshing and we hope that people suffering with their mental health will understand it is okay to talk and to ask for help. It gave me the opportunity to say that employers have a duty of care to look after their staff struggling with mental health and to offer support to those who often find themselves working alone for long periods of time.
One of the highlights of the month was when I was asked by Peter Houghton from The Football Safety Officers Association if I would speak at the annual conference about mental health. I have to say that having done this 3 years earlier and had such a positive reaction from people in the room I had no hesitation. Prior to the event I managed to knock out 10,000 steps walking along the beautiful river Avon, what an incredible place to switch off.
I was supported at the conference by Hilary Blakemore from SHOUT who is a volunteer who has taken in excess of 1000 calls, Hilary explained what SHOUT offer when people text SHOUT 85258 and it made me appreciate further why the walk and funding is so important with SHOUT receiving over 2400 contacts a day.
The room had safety officers from the premier league through to the National league, I gave a very honest hard hitting 20 minute talk about mental health and PTSD which obviously had an effect on a number of people in the room as throughout the day several people came forward to say they had been struggling with their mental health and not discussed it before but would now get assistance.
I have to say that I feel very privileged to find that people have the confidence to talk to me. I also discussed the Auction that I hope to hold towards the end of the walk and again the response from people in the room was amazing with a number of clubs offering to get signed memorabilia which I will highlight when it arrives. Mark Lawrenson & Matt Le Tissier also signed shirts for the auction and Neil Rowe at Cambridge United kindly donated a Southampton F.C. shirt.
The first auction item was donated by the FSOA and was framed gloves of Bruce Grobbelaar and Mark Crossley
This event showed top support and really highlighted mental health awareness within the FSOA and to show further support Andy Ashworth who hosted the gala dinner put a quiz together which raised £615 that was donated to the walk from everybody attending the dinner. Andy was also supportive to me personally with his comments about my book Life’s A Pitch and I hope there may be a chance that I can work with him in the future.
As for the walk the steps are progressing we have now reached 2,323,488 steps which relates to 1320 miles covered and leaving 1909 to reach Qatar.
The donations now received have hit £13,100 which is amazing!
I am now approaching my busiest time at the football club with the pitch renovation starting in May and all the annual safety certification work but once this is complete and the weather has warmed up I will arrange a date for the next possible walk that anybody can come along to.
Thanks again for your donations and support.
Ian Darler B.E.M
Above everybody who joined me the day we hit the million steps at King College Cambridge.
The recent million step challenge generated so many mental health conversations from people who had not spoken about their concerns previously.
I felt very privileged that so many people had the confidence to confide in me during the million step challenge.
I must thank every single person and company that sponsored the event which will help so many people of all ages.
I have continued walking every week and we have covered 1,981,777 steps which is 1126 miles now covered but more importantly the conversations have continued and again I apologise for the fact that the Just Giving page shut down when we hit £12,075
I have always had the view that tomorrow is another day but
Tomorrow really is another day for me as a national press release will be made at 10am on Friday 4th March.
I will put out further details in the next few days once the press release has been made.
Keep talking everybody
Ian Darler B.E.M
Firstly I must apologise as my Just Giving page closed in error on the 4th February I except full responsibility for this as I did not realise the page was set for 120 days.
We hope to have a new page open in the forthcoming days possibly with a new heading as I have had people contact me wishing to make a donation.
Meanwhile the steps have continued to increase and in the past eleven days we have added 129,647 steps so now covered 1,698,241 steps which gets us very close to a thousand miles covered as the total miles now currently stands at 964.
A WEEK OF SURPRISES
I was pleased to be part of the mental health podcast that went out this week and I must say thanks to everybody for all the positive comments received from people who have been in touch via the internet and in person at yesterday’s FA cup fixture against Luton Town. I know everybody who took part in the podcast hopes that it will help people feel more comfortable about talking about anything that is on their mind and to reduce that fear factor of discussing mental health concerns.
I think another very big surprise this week was to find myself in the Sun newspaper on Saturday which again we really hope will help promote Shout 85258. Special thanks to Dan King from the Sun newspaper
I was pleased to receive a phone call this week from Peter Houghton from the Football Safety Officers Association asking if I would consider talking again about mental Health at the annual conference in Stratford this coming March.
I was fortunate enough to have previously been asked to talk at the conference a couple of years ago and I believe this played a significant part in my recovery from depression and PTSD as it was the first time I had spoken publicly for a very long time following treatment. Last time around I was very honest with Peter when he asked me and said I will do my best but if on the day I find it too much I will have to drop out. Peter was very supportive with this decision and said he fully understood. The day came and to say I was nervous was an understatement but why? Prior to my depression and PTSD I was always running table top exercises in front 100-150 people, running medical evenings with paramedics, hosting charity sporting dinners etc. but my confidence had been taken apart by the mental health challenges I had faced.
The day came and I found myself on stage in front of a large audience I was very honest about what I had been through during a six year journey and the effect it had on both myself , family and friends along with the treatment I had received, the symptoms I had gone through etc. My talk should have been 30 minutes but lasted 45 minutes and that in itself was a boost to my confidence but what happened afterwards came as a huge surprise as two people came up to me and said that they felt I had been brave to talk as I had and that they knew they had been suffering with their own mental health battles and that they had not done anything about it but would now ask for help.
None of us know what life will throw at us but it is reassuring to know that talking to one another and offering support can make a huge difference.
Just do something once a day to make people enjoy life and put a smile on a face it can be something as simple as what Mark Bonner did at the game this Saturday? Was it planned or was it impulsive? It really does not matter.
Mark walked out the players tunnel before kick-off onto the pitch unannounced with his hands above his head clapping supporters in all home areas of the stadium and they responded with enthusiasm which generated such positivity and noise that I have never witnessed at the stadium in all my 43 years at the club every single supporter must have felt invigorated by this simple act as I did.
Keep talking and don’t be afraid to offer support to others remember those three little words can make a huge difference
ARE YOU OKAY?
Andi and Ann Redhead
And the anonymous donations
The donations I received after the Just Giving page shut down will be added to the total when the new page opens.
Thanks again to everybody above who has sponsored in the past 10 days
Ian Darler B.E.M
The walk continues and we have clocked up a few thousand more steps so we have passed the 1.5 million steps taking the distance covered to over 860 miles.
We hope to have some more news about the ongoing challenge in the next few weeks.
I again must thank the generosity of the sponsors who have continued to donate.
Acorn Architectural Ironmongery Ltd
Stadium Grow Lights SGL
And the anonymous donation.
Total currently raised stands at £11.798
Finally I must thank Dave Matthews–Jones & Carl Badcock for all their support
I am pleased to have been able to keep going as I had a slight heel injury that has not only caused some discomfort but also given me yet another nick-name? Wayne Sleep due to the way I have been walking.
I must as ever thank the following people and companies.
The supporters who attended the Cambridge United V Portsmouth fixture and donated
Nigel & Genny Browne
A2B Taxi cabs
And finally the anonymous donations
I really cannot thank you all enough every penny really does count and please keep telling people about this challenge and encourage people to donate as I know it will help others who at times will feel they have nowhere to turn-to .
Ian Darler B.E.M
But this would not have been possible without the help of two amazing people I always feel that you should support those who support you and we often thank these people.
CCFR made a gift presentation to Julie Izzard Community Challenge Manager at Tesco Newmarket Road and paid special thanks to Ian Westwood the store Manager we cannot express how grateful we are to both o them.
I must also thank the Cambridge Independent News Paper for their continued support in giving coverage to our charity work..
6th January 2022 has been a special day as the £10.000 target was reached.
I have currently now covered 1.290.691 steps and if you convert that to miles based on each step being a yard we have covered 700 miles.
It is the generosity of everybody who has very kindly donated that has kept me going over the past weeks and I really thank you all for your support and these funds are essential for SHOUT 85258.
SHOUT 85258 is a charity which has become close to my heart as this challenge has really helped people to talk and many of these people had not spoken about their mental health problems before and I believe the work they undertake is essential for people of all ages who find life’s challenges too much at times.
This challenge started as I had a friend who took his own life in 2021 and as I have mentioned before following the publication of my book Life’s A Pitch in 2019 I have also had several people come forward to speak to me who were really struggling with their mental health.
I am planning on continuing the walk as the donations are still coming in and I still look at it that every penny donated really does make a difference and will continue to support SHOUT but it is also some of the comments that have been submitted with the donations that has made me decide to keep walking.
Please continue to tell people about the challenge and keep talking.
As it says on the SHOUT 85258 shirt, TAKE EACH DAY AS IT COMES.
Thanks again everybody
Ian Darler B.E.M
I know from my own experience how challenging mental health conditions can be but you can get through it and I believe that I am a far better person now and more understanding and supportive .
Most Cambridge United supporters will be aware that Heads Together campaign was launched at the Abbey Stadium with the Duke Of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation and since then a number of high profile professional sports men and women have spoken about their mental health issues.
SHOUT 85258 was the first service from Mental Health Innovations. The service was researched and developed with the Royal Foundation as a legacy of the Heads Together campaign .
SHOUT 85258 offer a 24 hour service , If you need support you can text Shout to 85258 anytime,day or night to start a free , confidential conversation .
SHOUT 85258 also provide a little book of coping skills that can be found on their website.
Remember people hide their feelings donating today will most certainly help people of all ages and could save a life.
EVERY PENNY COUNTS
Thank you for your support.
Ian Darler B.E.M
Cambridge United FC Stadium Manager
Just Giving Page can be found here -