Body combat event for Clanfield veteran who took his life raises more than £2,500

HIGH energy and raw emotions filled the room during a three-hour charity body combat marathon in memory of a young man who took his own life.

Kyle Pritchard, from Clanfield, committed suicide aged 20 after leaving the army this year following a battle with  mental health issues. 

Picture: Keith Woodland

Picture: Keith Woodland

His mother Diane Walker and her best friend Emily James led the way at Havant Leisure Centre on Saturday, as more than 70 people turned out to break a sweat and raise funds for Papyrus, a charity for the prevention of young suicide.

Together the community raised more than £2,500.

Diane, 40 and who has three daughters, said: 'The day went brilliantly. I couldn’t have asked for better. 

‘Kyle was always helping people and he'd be made up so many donated and turned up in honour of him. I just wish he knew how much he was loved.

Kyle's mum Diane Walker, right and her best friend Emily, who set-up the event, left

Kyle's mum Diane Walker, right and her best friend Emily, who set-up the event, left

‘I want everyone out there who needs help to know there are people who can help them. 

‘People I don’t even know turned up, it’s amazing and so is how much we have raised.

‘It was tough, 10 minutes in we were sweating, but everyone just kept going and I’m touched so many people wanted to help.’

The marathon was led by three fitness instructors from the leisure centre.

Kyle in his army uniform last year

Kyle in his army uniform last year

Kyle joined the infantry in 2016 and left after 14 months, suffering with depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. He took his life in February.

Emily James, who organised the event for Diane for her 40th birthday, said the day was ‘very emotional’.

She added: ‘We have spoken with Papyrus about what we’re doing and we said, if we can save just one life by raising awareness with this event, then our job is done.

‘The instructors were amazing.’

Natalie Bollard, Juliet Cox, Yuliya Carr, Ann and Katy Freeman. Participants in the event. Picture: Keith Woodland

Natalie Bollard, Juliet Cox, Yuliya Carr, Ann and Katy Freeman. Participants in the event. Picture: Keith Woodland

Joanna Hicks, from Southbourne, took part in the marathon after hearing Diane’s story and wanting to help.

She said: ‘It’s a brilliant cause to raise awareness for. The way people have pulled together is tremendous, the energy was high the whole time.

‘Suicide within young men has been in the news a lot recently and I think the more we talk about it the better.’

For suicide prevention advice call 0800 068 4141.

To donate, click here.