Friends of a late teacher who took his own life are planning a mammoth walk in his memory.
Chris Boole died at home in London on August 17, aged 30, and one year on, his friends want to pay tribute to him by raising awareness of mental health, as well as money for the charity Mind.
The eight friends, who all grew up in Angmering and went to school with Chris there, will set off on a 30-mile charity walk along the coast from Bognor Pier to Brighton Pier on Saturday, September 1.
Will Jones said: “The walk will be undertaken by a group of some of the closest friends of Chris Boole, who lost his battle with depression last August and took his own life.
“He was 30 years old and lived in London at the time but grew up in East Preston, went to school in Angmering and spent much of his life along various parts of the south coast.
“He studied at the Bognor campus of Chichester University, worked as a beach lifeguard at Littlehampton and spent many a day and night having fun in Worthing and Brighton.
“So far, we have raised more than £3,000 and expect to have more than doubled this by the time the walk is over. We’ll be raising awareness on the day through Facebook live videos and the like.”
The walk will start in Bognor Regis at 7am and the friends expect to arrive in Littlehampton around 10am, Worthing around 2pm and Brighton by 7pm.
On their JustGiving page, set up by Laurie Hendy, the friends have included a tribute to Chris, saying: “Chris, our ‘Booleybear’, was a kind, fun, gentle-giant, who never had a bad word to say about anybody and was always the first to say yes to any social function. As a group, we knew that Booley was going through a tough time but we didn’t know just how bad he was suffering. Mental health isn’t something ‘lads’ talk about, so he never reached out to us or really told us the scale of the disease he was fighting.”
Statistics reveal suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK and in 2014, 76 per cent of suicide victims were men.
The friends feel this is something that ‘just simply has to change’, which is why they are raising money for the mental health charity Mind, as it provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
The walk will take them through some of the places which played a big part in Chris’ life.