Grieving Leeds brother raising awareness of men's mental health on fundraising Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk for Andys Man Club

The brother of a young Leeds dad who took his own life is trying to challenge the stigma he said still exists surrounding men's mental health.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 6:10 pm
Gareth Hazelgrave

Plumber Gareth Hazelgrave of Beeston - a dad of two young boys - took his own life aged 32 in January.

His brother Matthew, 37, of Rothwell, has organised a fundraising walk to raise awareness of men's mental health and cash for charity Andys Man Club.

Friends and family got involved and a total of 17 people are now set to tackle the 24-mile Yorkshire Three Peaks walk on Saturday August 7.

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Matthew Hazelgrave Photo: Bruce Rollinson

Matthew, the director of Garforth-based M3 Groundworks Ltd, said: "Men don't talk enough. There's a lot of pressure on men.

"There is still a stigma for men that if they open up it's a sign of their weakness.

"I didn't know what I could do but I felt like I had to do something to stop it happening to someone else.

"If we can help one person and one family it will achieve something, because it is too late for him now."

Matthew said he and a small group of friends have been out walking to prepare for the challenge.

"There have been up to six of us getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the Yorkshire Dales for a walk, which is something we would never have dreamed of doing," he said.

"It has got us talking and has got us out in the fresh air.

"You don't speak to people for a long time but if you have got a common interest you start speaking again because you have got something to focus on.

"It has helped me and it has got other people out of the house, with people working from home all the time."

"Everybody has been so supportive. It has been a bit of a journey."

Matthew said Gareth had struggled with his mental health, but had been making progress.

"It was a massive shock," he said. "He loved his kids. We never expected he would do that and leave them to grow up without him.

"He was a genuine guy and was well liked. If you met Gareth you would never forget him.

"If he could help people he would. He used to help his elderly neighbours."

Matthew's lifelong friend Jonathon Winstanley, 43, from Beeston, knew Gareth from when he was a boy.

"He was very well liked and always full of life," said Jonathon. "Everybody in Beeston knew him."

Jonathon said he was devastated when he heard of Gareth's death.

"It is hard to put into words, I was absolutely stunned," he said. "It was just total and utter shock."

Jonathon, who will be taking part in the fundraising walk, said he has been trying to raise awareness of men's mental health for many years.

Jonathon said he struggled with his own mental health when he was in his early twenties following a friend's death in a road traffic accident.

Jonathon has tried to challenge the stigma surrounding men's mental health and men feeling unable to show emotions or speak about how they feel.

"I think it's a bit of bravado as other men don't understand how to accept it," he said.

Jonathon, now of Rothwell, said he posts messages on social media inviting others to talk about their mental health and listens when people want to talk.

"I have had my own experiences and I have challenged them," he said. "I just hate the fact that people can't talk."

More than £4,000 has already been pledged to Andys Man Club ahead of the fundraising walk this Saturday.

Andys Man Club takes its name from Andrew Roberts, who took his own life aged 23 in 2016.

Andy’s mum Elaine Roberts and his brother in Law - Former Leeds Rhinos Prop Luke Ambler - came up with the idea for Andys Man Club.

It is a group where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgment-free, non-clinical environment.

Free to attend groups now operate nationwide and Andys Man Club has 200 volunteers and is used by more than 1,000 men each week.

Click here to sponsor the walkers in aid of Andys Man Club.

For details on how attend and Andys Man Club group, e mail: [email protected] or go to www.andysmanclub.co.uk