Rylan and Dame Kelly Holmes join Samaritans training session for London Marathon

Rylan and Dame Kelly Holmes join Samaritans training session for London Marathon Credit: PA

Rylan and Dame Kelly Holmes dropped into a training session to give a boost to runners raising funds for Samaritans by taking part in the TCS London Marathon on April 21.

Samaritans is the event’s charity of the year and is using the slogan “Believe in Tomorrow” after its research found one in five people (20%) have suicidal thoughts during their lifetime.

Rylan and Dame Kelly have both spoken about having suicidal thoughts in the past.

Rylan and Dame Kelly Holmes joined Samaritans runners at the London Marathon Community Track in Stratford, east London Credit: Samaritans/Chris O’Donovan/PA

Rylan said: “I’m really proud to be supporting Samaritans, and be a cheerleader for this year’s London Marathon runners who are raising money for this incredible charity.

“The fact that Samaritans is able to respond to calls for help and be there for absolutely anyone who is struggling, to listen to them without judgment and offer their support at any time of day, every day of the year is amazing.

“Good luck to all the runners – I’ll be cheering from the sidelines!”

The celebrity cheerleaders also had a run on the track Credit: Samaritans/Chris O’Donovan/PA

Dame Kelly, who won gold medals in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres at the 2004 Olympics, said: “I think it’s so important to highlight the work of Samaritans.

“There are so many people who are struggling and need support – nobody knows when they might need someone to talk to and have someone listen.

“The amazing runners will raise vital funds to make sure Samaritans will continue to be there to save more lives.”

One of the runners at the London Marathon Community Track in Stratford, east London, was Andy Baines-Vosper, 50, from Kent, who has previously called the Samaritans for support and now works for the charity as well as being a listening volunteer.

The runners are preparing for the TCS London Marathon on April 21 Credit: Samaritans/Chris O’Donovan/PA

“It was such an honour to have icons Rylan and Kelly Holmes take the time to show their support for all the runners taking on the marathon for Samaritans,” he said.

“I’m running with a 24.7kg bag, as Samaritans is open 24/7, and to symbolise the weight that feeling suicidal can have on someone and seeing Rylan and Kelly carry it today perfectly demonstrates how we can all help one another share the load by checking in and offering support to someone who might need it.”

The other runners at the training session included twins Amy and Roma Longster, 24, with their mum Lucinda, 55, from Windsor.

They are running the London Marathon in memory of their dad, Graham, who took his own life in October 2021.

Rylan and Dame Kelly Holmes cheered on the runners Credit: Samaritans/Chris O’Donovan/PA

Also running for Samaritans are Suneel Verma, 43, from Hayes, who lost a close friend to suicide and Daren Wilson, 59, from Kent, who is a Samaritans staff member and former listening volunteer. This will be his 9th and final London Marathon.

Samaritans’ Believe in Tomorrow campaign provides resources to support conversations around suicide including tips on listening, conversation starters and stories of hope. To find out more, please visit www.samaritans.org/tomorrow

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