Rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson shows support for Leamington man's fundraising challenge

He will be raising money for mental health charity Mind

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 11:50 am

Rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson has given his support to a young man in Leamington who is taking on a charity challenge.

Xander Eddy (20) will be taking on a 475-mile running challenge for the mental health charity Mind.

The challenge, which will take place throughout May, will see Xander run 15 miles a day, every day, for a month.

Xander Eddy will be taking on a 475-mile running challenge for the mental health charity Mind. Photo supplied

Xander said :“I am doing this to raise awareness of the frightening statistic, that on average, 475 people will take their own life in England and Wales each month, 75 per cent of whom are males, just like me.

"I thought long and hard about how many people have been impacted by each of those deaths."

England's rugby star Jonny Wilkinson, who famously scored the winning drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, heard of the challenge and was keen to lend his support, sending Xander a personal video message in which he both praised and encouraged the endeavour.

Only last year, Wilkinson spoke of his own mental health challenges, despite his enormous success, recognizing the importance of raising awareness of mental health, particularly amongst young men.

Xander Eddy will be taking on a 475-mile running challenge for the mental health charity Mind. Photo supplied

The support has been a real boost for Xander who has been training regularly in preparation for the grueling 475-mile run.

“It has been fantastic to have Jonny Wilkinson's support particularly as I am a great fan of rugby," said Xander.

"I am training diligently and my preparation is very specific. Therefore, I am feeling confident, excited and determined about the challenge.

"This is the first time I have taken on a challenge like this, and I wanted to do something to push myself which is why my preparation is so vital.

"It would be great too if people would join me for a run on one of the legs or even jump on a zoom to tell me about their own mental health journey.

"I very much want to make this an annual event; it is such an important issue."

Xander is hoping to raise as much money as possible for Mind with his challenge.

He added: "By taking the time to look at my page and understand what the challenge is aiming to achieve, you could be saving someone’s life.

"Understanding what we can collectively do to stop suicide happening is the key.

"Exercise is so good for mental health, and so is starting an open conversation about it."