Portchester woman to take on London Marathon to raise funds for Mind in memory of her dad who died by suicide
A LOVING daughter who lost her dad to suicide is channelling her grief into raising awareness of mental health by running the London Marathon.
Simone Thompson is lacing up her running shoes to train for the epic race in memory of her ‘incredible’ dad Steve Baker.
After a 10-year battle with his mental health, Steve took his own life in 2004 aged 51, which came as a shock to many friends and family members who had no idea he was struggling.
Portchester resident Simone, who was aged 24 when Steve died, is hoping to do something positive in his memory and raise awareness that it is OK not to be OK.
Simone, now 42, said: ‘With coronavirus it’s been highly publicised that people are struggling so I really thought I could do something positive.
‘It’s really hard when you lose someone in that way. It hasn’t been easy over the years and I’m just trying a different tact and doing something positive in his memory.
‘He was genuinely the nicest man, he was so funny, he had a good circle of friends. As a father he was an incredible dad, he was very supportive, thoughtful and always gave great advice. He was very family orientated.’
Simone said the church was overwhelmed by people paying their respects at Steve’s funeral, with people having to stand at the back and outside.
She added: ‘I wish he could have seen that because I don’t think he knew how much he was loved.
‘If the money I raise for Mind can go on to save another person’s life that would be amazing. It’s going to make every single minute of this challenge worth it.’
After launching a fundraising campaign, Simone has already raised more than £1,300 for mental health charity Mind, and is currently training to take on the London Marathon in October.
Husband, Michael, 46, and Simone’s two sons Matthew, 18 and Jack, 12 have been incredible support on the journey so far.
Simone, who is hoping to heal her own pain through taking on this challenge, said: ‘Training is hard and although it is going well right now, I have no doubt that as the training really starts to intensify over these coming few months they'll be there with a comforting hug and words of encouragement!
‘For anyone who knows me, the thought of me doing a marathon is crazy. It’s such a huge challenge. I have watched it on the TV for years and I’m always in total awe, I think it’s incredibly inspiring.’
Simone is also hosting a raffle to raise funds towards her total, with prizes including barbecues from B&Q, £50 gift cards for Tesco and Southern Co-op, bottles of wine and more.
She has had help from kind community champions at Tesco North Harbour and M&S Havant to pull together the prizes. Tickets cost £2 and 100 per cent of the ticket price will go to Mind.