Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A busy weekend CLASP and run Part 1

Hi guys,

Thank you again for visiting my blog and reading my posts. I hope you are well well.

Following on from my last blog post I just wanted to give you guys a bit of an update with what i've been upto recently.

The weekend of the 14th-15th of May was an incredibly busy weekend. I travelled down to London on the Friday night and was really looking forward to doing a 10 miles walk for the CLASP charity. They are a charity who do amazing work in the world on mental health and it was a pleasure to go to London and undertake this challenge with many other like minded people.

I remember at the hotel I was staying at there were a lot of people who had CLASP t-shirts on and I was really surprised but in a very pleasant way because it wasn't something that I expected and it was nice to see.

As I made my way down to Battersea Park on the morning (even with my luggage as the hotel wouldn't allow me to leave it) I met more and more people with CLASP t-shirts on and I guess in a way it made it more exciting to do it with so many people.

As I arrived at Battersea Park I met Kat as well as loads of other supporters. Kat is someone who has worked tirelessly to support others with mental health issues through CLASP charity and various other means and it is through her hard work as well as her fellow colleagues that events like this can go ahead.

Another person I was looking forward to meeting was Amy Murray. Myself and Amy have followed each other on Twitter for a few years and spoken sometimes via social media and it was the first time I had met her so it was nice to finally meet her. She is also an amazing mental health advocate who works hard and is incredibly determined. She also has an amazing blog which I have told her on numerous occasions and if any of you wish to view it, you can here http://absolutely-amy.blogspot.co.uk/

The day started with a few speeches. They were all great but I was looking forward to 2 speeches in particular. 1 from Ruby Wax (who unfortunately was unable to attend due to illness) and the other was from Johnny Benjamin. Some of you reading may know Johnny's story which was well documented in the media a few years ago when he was quite close to committing suicide but someone called Neil saved him. There was a campaign a few years ago when the story broke to try and find Neil and it was amazing to see them both there and sharing that same stage. I firmly believe that sometimes a person who is willing to offer 2 ears and an open heart can help people who are struggling in a very positive way because it just shows that you care at a time when they feel others don't.

There was also an author who was doing 1 speech too (can't remember her name) but she has a book currently on sale on Amazon. She mentioned she would donate £10,000 to CLASP if her book can get to a bestseller. Can't remember whether she said bestseller or top 10 bestseller. I remember looking at Kat's face and I could see the shock and she covered her mouth with her hand in amazement. I tried to get the camera out to take a photo but I was too late and the moment passed.

After the talks the walk started and I remember thinking how nice Battersea Park was and tried to compare it with my local park. Battersea Park is stunning. I was really looking forward to the walk and looking forward to the experience.

I met many people along the way but there was 1 person in particular who I learnt something very valuable from. I can't remember her name but she told me she had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and it wasn't as a result of going to war which many people commonly think with this condition. Even through my own experiences with mental health I also thought judging by what I see in the media PTSD has to be something to do with war but her story was something completely different and out of respect I won't explain the story. I did however learn something very valuable and it taught me to think a little more openly.

1 of the best parts of the day was walking for a few miles with Norman Lamb. Norman Lamb is a British MP for the Liberal Democrat party but he is also 1 of many people who have seen a family member struggle with a mental health condition. It was a pleasure to walk with him, his wife and their friend for a few miles and listen to Norman's story about how his family member struggled with their condition and what effects that it had. As Norman has witnessed this first hand, he tirelessly campaigns for change which makes him a great ambassador for supporting others with mental health issues.

We also walked along the River Themes and I felt very proud to be walking through the huge crowds with the CLASP t-shirt and I think the fact there was so many of us would have been great to raise awareness which is a big part of what the charity are aiming to do. Some members of the public even stopped us and asked about the charity which is nice and shows the hard work is both valued and recognised.

As I carried on walking I was beginning to feel more and more tired and I just wanted it to come to and end as I had the Chester half marathon the next day with 2 members of my running club and I had to be out of my house at 7am on Sunday morning too. We got to the end of the walk and again ended up in Battersea Park and I ended up chilling in the park with some of the people that I had met. On reflection it was a brilliant day, where I met some fantastic people but most importantly I believe the charity achieved what it set out too. They hope to have some regional ones in future so please keep an eye out.

As this post is now turning into an essay I will wrap this up here but I plan to write part 2 of my busy weekend within the next few days so please keep an eye out. Before I go though if any of you want to find out more information about CLASP charity or the wonderful work they do, then you can contact them by using any of the following:

Website: http://www.claspcharity.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claspcharity/?fref=ts
Twitter: @claspcharity

Please also see below for pictures from the day:

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