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Mental Health: Friends raise over £11K in memory of Ben Rowntree

Remembering their friend, Ben.
Remembering their friend, Ben.

Friends oF a rugby player who took his own life have raised thousands of pounds in his memory to help others with mental health problems.

Friends oF a rugby player who took his own life have raised thousands of pounds in his memory to help others with mental health problems.

Teammates of Ben Rowntree, who played Rugby League for Kettlethorpe, tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks, carrying a 14-stone weight between them, following his death in 2017 aged 33.

More than £11,000 was raised from the walk and the cash will go to a charity launched to fund sports equipment and facilities for mental health services users.

Around 25 of Mr Rowntree’s former teammates took part in the 25-mile walk in June.

And on Thursday an apple tree was planted and a plaque unveiled by the team at an event in the Caring Garden at Wakefeld’s Fieldhead Hospital.

Those who took part wore t-shirts bearing Mr Rowntree’s picture and displayed the total amount raised, some £11,130.

Steve Thomas, 41, who was among the walkers, said: “Ben weighed approximately 14 stone and the idea was to carry the burden that he carried across the Three Peaks.

“It was arduous. It was a challenge that that’s why we did it really.

“The idea was to give people something to focus on during the grieving period.

“The rugby team are all really close.”

Mr Rowntree had been treated at Fieldhead as he batled depression. Following his death family and friends set up a campaign called ‘Ey Up Ben’ to raise awareness of suicide, which is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.

The campaign supports the NHS charity Ey Up, which helps South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – that runs Fieldhead – care for patients with mental health problems.

The charity provides funding for extras like games and equipment, arts sessions and away trips for mental health service users.