Mother's Dartmoor challenge to fund mental health support for young people

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report.

A mother is walking 36 miles from Exeter to Plymouth this weekend on the anniversary of her daughter's passing.

27-year-old Abigail Clare died one year ago today, on the 25 April 2020, after losing her battle with mental health.

Karen says her daughter Abi was "an amazing human being" who loved the outdoors and often travelled.

Karen said: "Abi had such a zest for life and loved adrenaline fulled adventure. She was a snowboard instructor and had travelled extensively. Abi was really proud of her passport and all the stamps she'd acquired from the countries she had visited.

"I know she would approve of what we are doing as Abi helped so many people in her short life, she was dependable and a good and loyal friend to many.

"Abi struggled for a long time with her mental health despite everything she achieved with her life and there are many people who didn't realise how badly she was suffering."

Abi Clare was a snowboard instructor and someone who travelled extensively. Credit: Family handout

Since April 2020 Karen has been fundraising in her daughter's name to improve mental health provision for other young people by funding early intervention work.

The group known as Abigail's Army have been raising money for the Cornish mental health charity Sea Sanctuary by funding a bursary called the Daisy Fund. The Penryn based organisation specialises in outdoor therapies, often using sailing as as an outlet to help young people.

Karen said "Early intervention is crucial and treatment does not always have to be through medication. The innovative therapies Sea Sanctuary are using are testament to that, and I know Abi would approve."

Family friend Jodie Edworthy joined Karen on her walk from Bakers Hill to Roborough and said if they find the journey tough they will use Abi as inspiration to keep going.

She said: "What we are doing today is nothing compared to what Abigail experienced so if we're finding it hard what did Abi feel in her deepest moments and that's the important thing is why we're raising this money."

Abigail Clare, a former Chaddlewood and Hele's student, worked as a snowboarding instructor and loved the outdoors.  Credit: Family handout

So far Abigail's Army have collected £3,500 for the Daisy Fund, and hope to continue to invest in mental health support for young people in the South West.

Karen says she knows her daughter would have loved to be part of a Dartmoor challenge as she loved the moors.

She said: "I miss my daughter every single day and if I can prevent some other young person or their family from experiencing what we have, I'll be happy.

"Abi's life was cut far too short, I will strive to tell her story and keep her memory alive."

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