Couple from St Neots finish 350-mile walk in memory of four relatives lost to suicide

  • Katie Ridley went to meet the couple at the end of the walk.

A couple who completed a 350-mile walk after they lost four family members to suicide have said they were "overwhelmed" with the support they received.

Pat Kenny, from St Neots in Cambridgeshire, was 25 when he died in 2020, becoming the fourth member of the family to die by suicide.

On Saturday his brother, George Downey, and sister-in-law, Cindy, completed their 350-mile journey from Glasgow to St Neots, intended to raise awareness of mental health.

They were joined along the way by others who had lost loved ones to suicide.

"The mornings were the toughest part, when I woke up in the morning, feeling pretty dehydrated and put my feet to the floor and they were so painful", said Mrs Downey.

"But we got up and did what we could to make ourselves feel better. There was no doubt in my mind or our mind that we would get to the end."

Pat Kenny as a baby with his father

Their fundraiser, Pacing4Pat350, is aimed at preventing other families from going through what they have.

The couple started their journey on 22 July, starting in Glasgow where Pat grew up, walking an average of 25 miles a day for two weeks.

They were joined by friends and family along the way, with one of those being Steve Whitney, whose son Will took his own life in February 2020.

"The biggest issue with someone that's suffering from suicidal thoughts is how we get them to talk before they get to the stage where they take their own life," said Mr Witney.

"Raising awareness hopefully gets people thinking about the person in their life that's possibly struggling."

They were joined by Mike Palmer, from 3 dads walking. He lost his daughter Beth to suicide.

The couple have chosen to raise money for Hertfordshire mental health charity Hector's House, which supports people in crisis.

So far they have raised more than £5,000 for the charity, which was set up in memory of Hector Stringer, who took his life aged 18.

Founder Robert Stringer said he was grateful for the family's support.

"They've raised awareness 350 miles down the country in every place that they've been with all the people they've spoken to - their Instagram posts, their Facebook posts, the radio.

"The community will have heard what they're doing all the way down the country and they will connect with somebody somewhere with their story," said Mr Stringer.

The family have said they will take a well-earned break from walking but want to continue to raise the profile for suicide prevention.

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help:

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

  • Papyrus offers support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am and midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to

  • Mind also offers mental health support between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463. There is also lots of information available on their website.

  • Hector's House is a suicide and crisis prevention and help resource, with links to specialist helplines.

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