"Overwhelming - just amazing.”
That was the verdict of charity fundraiser Sharon Hartley after crossing the finish line of Catterall’s first Mental Health Mile
It was a big day for the Catterall community who went the extra mile in their show of support of the initiative and to help raise awareness and encourage conversation about mental health issues.
Around 500 people turned out for the first event held at Catterall Playing Fields, organised by Team ShazzAnn, otherwise known as Sharon Hartley, Ann Boardman, Emily Hanson and Mandy Richardson and inspired by the Leg It Lancaster campaign founded by Louise Goddard.
Forward thinking fundraisers Sharon and Ann were keen to re-create the event and will now host monthly miles every third Sunday of the month.
Sharon says: “We were hoping to have 50 people just coming along to have a jog, a walk, a chat and a cake but suddenly we watched the registration just keep rising.
“That’s when we knew it was going to be something special.
“It was just fantastic - anybody and everybody was invited, people coming together from all walks of life, regardless of age, ability.
“We had toddlers, wheelchair users, youngsters, to our eldest participant who was 85. The thing about this walk and our route was it was achievable for all - everyone could cross the finish line. It was very overwhelming.”
Donations totalled a grand £1300. Monies will help fund the future event, whilst also supporting ‘Active Lives Lancaster’ charity and the Greg Place Memorial Fund.
“It’s a great opportunity to get the family out and because it’s only a mile anyone can do it. There’s fresh air and a chance to walk and talk with friends and family.”
The walks have got the backing of both Leg It Lancaster and the Garstang branch of Harrison Drury solicitors.
Sharon added: “We thought mental health was a cause worth talking about - the more you talk, the more you bring it into the open and this is a perfect opportunity to do that.
“Events like this give people the opportunity to talk about mental health and give it a more public platform. It doesn’t need to be stigmatised.”
Sharon added: “The event is open to absolutely anybody. You don’t need to be fit, you don’t need to be a runner. You just need to come along and do your mile.”