10 miles, 10 pubs, one great cause: Lancashire pub crawl raising awareness and funds for mental health charity CALM

Andrew Wilkinson had been with his best mate Simon Sharples on the night Simon died by suicide in 2014 and, naturally, it devastated him.

By Jack Marshall
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:55 am

“I was the last one to see him,” says Andrew, 44. “It took its toll on me for a while… We used to do absolutely everything together and he’d been one of my best friends ever since we’d been at school, so I was just angry and upset, as you can imagine.

“But, since then, it’s really spurred me on to encourage people to talk,” adds Andrew, who has since started the Ten Ten Walk to raise funds for mental health charity CALM. “In my friend network, we’ve all got people who’ve gone through things, so stick together.”

A 10-mile walk incorporating visits to 10 local pubs across Penwortham and Longton, the first Ten Ten Walk took place in 2017. Since then, the event has grown from Andrew and a few friends to involving some 150 participants in 2019, the last edition before the pandemic.

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Andrew Wilkinson (left) and Simon Sharples (right), and their friend Wes

But this year, the walk is back. Set to take place on May 21st, this year’s event will be the fourth iteration, with the total raised so far standing at £5,200 and Andrew is hoping for another good turnout.

“The Ten Ten Walk is something Simon would’ve really enjoyed himself - we used to do another 20-mile, 20-pubs charity pub crawl at Longridge, so we’re like its little brother event now,” explains Andrew, from Penwortham. “They’re fantastic - the 2019 was brilliant.

“We have an opening registration place where everyone meets up, then we have a route mapped out for everyone and we all group off and have a really good day,” he adds. “Seeing the turnout makes all the work that goes into it worth it - the whole thing is so rewarding.

“Providing as much support and spreading as much knowledge around mental health as possible is crucial, especially with the pandemic, which has made letting people know that there is help out there so much more important,” continues Andrew, an accountant with Preston-based interiors retailer Luxus Design.

Andrew Wilkinson (right) and Simon Sharples

“Getting people together and spreading the word is what it’s all about; a few friends have actually started talking about things they’re struggling with because of the Ten Ten Walk, which is probably something which might not have happened otherwise.”

According to the latest Office for National Statistics data, there were 6,211 cases of suicide in the UK in 2020, with CALM claiming that an estimated 125 lives are lost every week to suicide, 75% of which are male.

Dedicated to taking a stand against suicide, CALM enourages people to talk when they’re feeling low, signposts support services, works to erode the stigma around discussing suicide, and brings people together in the fight against the causes of suicide.

“After the pandemic, talking now is more important than ever,” says Andrew. “People have had a tough time with isolation and losing loved ones, but there’s support there for people to help them get away from the dark clouds hanging over them.”

Andrew Wilkinson (right) on the inaugural Ten Ten Walk in 2017

To make a donation and sign up for the Ten Ten Walk, head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrew-Wilkinson69