Charity mission for football abuse victim

Former PNE player David Lean
Former PNE player David Lean
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A sexual abuse victim is hoping to turn his traumatic experience into something positive as he tries to raise much-needed funds for a counselling service that supported him in his darkest hour.

Former PNE reserve footballer David Lean, 49, was supported by the Rennaisance team - which supports victims of sexual abuse - at Drugline Lancashire, after revealing the child abuse he suffered at the hands of a football coach more than 30 years ago.

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David, who waived his anonymity to speak out about his ordeal, has entered the Greater Manchester Marathon on April 2 with his friend Jonas Bartle to raise cash for Renaissance, and the donations will be ringfenced to specifically help other victims of sexual abuse. He was just 11 when he met his abuser on a family trip to a holiday camp in Wales.

David said: “The counselling service made a huge difference to my life. It allowed me to open up to very sensitive issues that I was unable to do with anyone else, and allowed me to speak about issues I had hidden for almost 33 years. The staff are very supportive and caring and helped me understand it wasn’t my fault.”

At first dad-of-two David, who recently got married, was told no charges would be laid against his abuser- but the decision was eventually overturned and he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in 2015.

A charity spokesman said: “We are extremely grateful and proud that David, someone who the service has supported is able to take part in an event as challenging and life changing as a marathon and that he wants to do this to fund-raise specifically to keep the counselling service going, the monies he raises will no doubt go on to support many survivors. We wish him all the luck with his training and we will be cheering for him on the day.”