Walking football match for over 50s raises money for suicide help charity in Milton Keynes

A special football match for over 50s where players walk rather than run has raised funds for a caring charity called the Face of Suicide.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 6:08 pm

The match was organised by MK Mad Walkers Football Club and raised more than £1,500 for the charity, which was set up by a member John McHale.

Mr McHale said: "I lost my 19 year-old-son to suicide in January 2016 and the effect on my family and myself has been devastating.

"I set up the charity to provide an environment for those affected by suicide, whether that be someone who is suicidal, or those who have lost someone to suicide, to reach out and talk to others in similar situations."


Many bereaved members are left with unanswered questions and struggle to cope with the heartbreaking effects, said Mr McHale.

The charity has a website and aFacebook page and is a portal by which those suffering can share their experiences with people who truly understand.

Mr McHale said: "MK MaD Walkers which stands for ‘Make A Difference’ runs to support over 50’s members who want to stay fit and be sociable and it has been vital in my recovery journey’. Studies have shown that walk football has amazing benefits for mental health and physical fitness."

He said the walking football match was a huge success. Even though it was raining, 28 of the 36 strong football club played, with family and friends supporting.

The game was held at Newport Pagnell Football Club, who donated use of a pitch and their facilities for the day. It was won 8-6 by the ‘B’ team.

Mr McHale has been a professional portrait photographer for more than 30 years and offers the opportunity for bereaved families to truly show what is behind the mask with images of their struggle.

He believes a photograph can tell a story far more powerfully than words alone. Anyone who wants to participate in the Face of Suicide project can contact him via: www.faceofsuicide.uk

MK MaD Walkers, who are based at Woughton Academy, was established in 2014 and its membership has grown rapidly over the last year with members joining of ages ranging from 50 to 74.

New players are welcome to join the club and can go along on a Thursday at 8pm to try out a session free of charge, or can contact the club via: www.mkmadwalkers.co.uk