Three Dads Walking reach Wigan on latest epic trek for suicide awareness
Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen, who are known as 3 Dads Walking came to the borough on day 12 of their latest mission – completing the 22.1 mile leg from Broughton, Preston.
The three dads were hosted by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham for the night before embarking on their next leg to Grimsditch Hall in Cheshire.
The trio are trekking more than 500 miles in their quest to have suicide prevention included in the school curriculum.
They began their mammoth journey on September 9 – the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day – taking in much of the UK from Northern Ireland, through Scotland, Wales and finishing in London on World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Along the way they are urging politicians to do more to reduce suicide rates among young people.
The 3 Dads walking have already raised more than £880,000 for the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.
In the autumn of 2021, they teamed up to walk 300 miles in memory of their daughters Beth, Sophie and Emily.
Starting at Andy’s home in Cumbria, the route took them through Greater Manchester where Mike lives, finishing their journey at Tim’s home in Norfolk.
Bereaved father Andy Airey said: “More than 200 schoolchildren are lost to suicide every year. That is both a tragedy and a national scandal which needs to be addressed.
“Our walk is to provide a focus for continuing the conversation with Government about embedding suicide prevention in the school curriculum. Young people want to know more about mental wellbeing and where to get help and schools have a vital role to play in saving young lives. “
Mike Palmer, from Sale in Greater Manchester, said: “We’re walking for a month and we’ll be talking for a month.
"Talking about how we need to equip our young people with life-skills which they can carry through the rest of their lives to protect themselves and others.”
Tim Owen from Shouldham in Norfolk said: “It’s going to be an epic. It’s obviously double the distance of our last walk, double the time and so hopefully we’ll meet double the people.
“PAPYRUS works across all four nations and so it makes sense to have a route across Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and the seats of power where people can unlock this and potentially save
The dads’ personal stories of suicide took the world by storm and they received global media attention.
They caught the attention of Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig who each donated £10,000 to their cause.
Ged Flynn, chief executive of PAPYRUS, says the 3 Dads Walking are already life-savers.
He said: “Andy, Mike and Tim were leading different lives in different parts of the country and would probably never have met had they not been brought together by the tragedy and trauma of suicide which has shattered their lives and the lives of those around them.
“As the 3 Dads Walking they are able to channel their energy and focus on what they can do to help save young lives.
To follow the dads’ four-week walk visit: https://www.3dadswalking.uk/the-2022-route
To donate to their cause visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/3DadsWalking1