• Mon. May 27th, 2024

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BRITAIN’s top judo fighter has joined forces with a charity set up to tackle male suicide after his sport was rocked by tragedy.

Lachlan Moorhead, from Penistone, South Yorkshire, who is Senior British Champion and ranked number two in the Commonwealth, has become an ambassador for North East-based national charity the If U Care Share Foundation.

And the 21-year-old hopes to raise awareness of the rising number of suicides among young men after figures showed male suicides are triple those of women.

Lachlan, a Grand Slam and multiple European medallist who started training in judo at age six, was just 11 when his idol, World Judo Champion Craig Fallon, died by suicide in 2019 aged 36.

“He was my hero,” he said, “and the best judo athlete to ever come out of Great Britain in my opinion.

“My dad and I would travel for miles to attend his masterclasses and, like everyone in the sport, we were utterly stunned and bewildered when he died.

“I barely knew him but what his death showed me was that often people who seem fine are struggling inside and my opinion is that we don’t talk about this often enough.

“Judo is seen as a pretty macho sport and I hope that by getting involved with If U Care Share I can really help them push the message that mental health issues can affect anyone and that it is vital to talk, because that really can mean the difference between life and death.”

Lachlan was introduced to If U Care Share by Athlete Media Group – which represents athletes from a variety of sports, united in a desire to give back to society by lending their voices to a range of causes, from ocean plastic to bullying, sustainability and diversity.

The charity was founded by Shirley Smith after losing her eldest and much-loved son Dan to suicide on Easter Monday 2005.

“Dan had no previous history of mental illness and had never reached out to our GP,” she said.

“He had a job, plans for the future and a family that loved him and showed no signs of his intent or the inward struggle that led to him ending his life.

“Seventeen years on, we still do not know what lead to his death,” she said, “but we also know that 75 per cent of men that end their lives have no diagnosis, or history of mental illness.”

She founded the charity in 2011 with the aims of intervening to prevent suicides and providing family support after suicide and now runs workshops teaching those from seven to 25 the importance of mental along with physical wellbeing.

The charity is also working with the Premier League and League Football Education to address the issue at football league clubs across the UK.

“Sport can reach people – especially young men –when other methods fail,” said Shirley, “which is why we are so thrilled to have Lachlan on board.

“He is not only a credit to his sport but to his country and we are delighted he has agreed to become an ambassador for If U Care Share.”

By admin