A dad from Cornwall is going to join Prince Harry at the start line of London marathon to raise funds for mental health charities.
Daryl Ashley, from Bodmin, will be running the London marathon on Sunday (April 23) in aid of Bodmin association Mind Restormel and Heads Together, the charity led by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The 43 year old said he decided to take part in the annual long-distance race as he has long suffered from depression. He said the other main reason was his nephew, Joe.
“My nephew ended his own life back in 2008 due to mental illness,” he explained. “He was suffering from bipolar disorder.”
This year the London Marathon will be focused on mental health, with Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge as the official race starters.
Daryl Ashley, training for the marathon
All three are leading the Heads Together campaign to raise people’s awareness on mental illness and change people’s perception of the issue.
Daryl said that he hopes to see Prince Harry as he is a great ambassador for the cause.
“I’d love to meet Prince Harry”, he said. “I hope to as least see him on Sunday as he will with William and Kate be at the start line.
“He’s a great advocate to banish prejudices on mental illness. He’s absolutely brilliant. He is dedicated and thanks to his age he’s appealing to young people as well. He is a cool chap.”
The father of one started to raise funds for the charity Mind almost one year ago and managed to get thousands of pounds.
He said: “My fundraising is going well. I’ve done the usual things, cake sale, pub quiz and then I set up an online fundraising page.
“Since last June, I’ve raised over £2,000. I hope to reach £2,500.”
Due to a serious depression, Daryl had to be away from work for six months, but did not stop training or fundraising.
He said: “Throughout this time, I have managed to continue training, which actually helps my mental wellbeing.
“It was a bit of a blessing, it helped me get my life back. I am now ready to run and go back to work.”
Daryl, who used to be a fuel tanker driver, is now starting his own business.
He said: “I want to start Cornish stone hedging. It is a hobby of mine and I want it to be my occupation.”
Now he says the most important thing when you suffer from depression or mental illness is communication.
“It is a bit of a cliche to say that”, he said, “but you need to look out for someone who listens and tell how you feel. Some people do not even know they are depressed. You must talk about it and be understanding of others.”
While Daryl gets ready for Sunday, BBC1 show Mind Over Marathon,…