A Mexborough family is raising awareness of the importance of speaking out about mental health, while fundraising for a Rotherham mental health unit in memory of their lost loved one.
The partner and mum of ground worker Tony Horvath (34), who took his own life in February of this year, are joining family and friends on a fundraising walk on Saturday 24 June from the Old Market Hall pub on Mexborough High Street to Mexborough Athletic Club, which will be the venue for a family fun day on Saturday 1 July. All the proceeds will be spent on buying equipment for the games room at Swallownest Court Mental Health Unit.
Tony’s partner Sarah Fryer, who is mum to their one year old daughter Mattie said: “Tony experienced problems with his mental health after the death of his brother Matthew three years ago and spent some time as an inpatient at Swallownest Court.
“He always said he’d like to buy some new equipment for the games room there, so we decided to raise funds to carry out his wish.”
Sarah and Tony’s mum Ann Westgarth have joined forces with a group of eight friends to organise the fundraising activities, which culminate in the event on 1 July, where for a £2 entry fee children will be able to enjoy a fun-packed day with bouncy castles, a fancy dress disco, party games and face painting.
Entry for adults is free. There will be cake stalls and refreshments and a chance to win with a whole host of high quality prizes in the raffle and tombola, which have been donated by local businesses.
Sarah and friend Terri Keen are also being sponsored to have their heads shaved and will be donating their shorn off long locks to the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs free of charge to children who have lost their hair to cancer treatment and other illnesses.
Ann said: “I only had two sons, and I’ve lost both of them too early, so as well as the fundraising, we’re organising these events to encourage people to talk about mental health.
“Tony was the life and soul of the party and on the outside he seemed completely fine. He was a hard worker and was working seven days a week, but the reality was he was struggling and wasn’t sleeping – and his mental health problems had returned, but he didn’t tell us how bad he was feeling.”
She added: “Statistics show that one in four people in the UK will experience some kind of problem with their mental health this year, but it’s still something we don’t talk about openly.
“If, by sharing Tony’s story and holding these events, we reach out to just one person and encourage them to seek help, it will be worth all the effort we’ve put in.”
Sarah and Ann are hoping to raise £2,000 to buy new games equipment for Swallownest Court, which is run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH).
On 24 June, they’ll be setting off with their donation buckets from the Old Market Hall pub at 11am, and will be encouraging local people to give them support, as well as joining them for their fundraising day at Mexborough Athletic Club on Saturday 1 July, when the fun starts at midday.
People can find out more about Tony’s story and make an online donation at: https://www.gofundme.com/tonysstory