Matthew Starkey: Leeds family walk in memory of son who took own life

Matthew Starkey.
Matthew Starkey.
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A couple from Leeds are making a 500 mile pilgrimage in memory of their 29-year-old son who took his own life.

Former Royal Marine Matthew Starkey, from north Leeds, had suffered from depression since his late teens.

His father Mick Starkey, a retired West Yorkshire police inspector, and mum Tess – both experienced ramblers – will make the trip next spring.

Mr Starkey said: “Matthew was overwhelmed by his illness and sadly took his own life in February this year.

“After leaving school he had a number of jobs before joining the Royal Marines. Unfortunately he was injured and was discharged after a year, almost at the end of his training.

“This was a major disappointment and after that he found it difficult to hold down a job through his depression, but latterly spent a lot of time volunteering at the Inkwell Arts Project, which supports people with mental health problems.

“The therapeutic environment suited him and we thought he was progressing.”

The former Cardinal Heenan pupil had talked about tackling the Camino Santiago Pilgrimage Walk, which starts from the French side of the Pyrenees and finishes in north west Spain, after his uncle completed it.

At times the couple, who are both walking group leaders for Ramblers Holidays, will be joined by other family and friends along the route.

They will raise funds for Leeds Mind and the Inkwell Arts Project in Chapel Allerton.

Mr Starkey added: “We want to support the project in memory of the support it gave Matthew.

“They have designed and created a lovely space there for people with mental illness.

“The money raised will contribute towards the building of a purpose built creative space.”

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