Men walk to Amsterdam for Andy's Man Club, following friend’s suicide

Date published: 24 May 2024

Two cousins who lost a friend to suicide are walking from Heywood to Amsterdam to raise awareness of men’s mental health.

Billy Becconsall and Stan Parkinson have set off on a 380 mile journey to Holland in an attempt to encourage more men to talk about their issues, and reduce the rate of male-suicide in the UK.

The epic walk was set up to raise money for men’s suicide prevention charity Andy’s Man Club, which operates nationally and has two meeting venues in Rochdale.

The two men set off on their journey on 12 May, and Billy spoke with Rochdale Online from the ferry to Rotterdam.

He said: "A friend’s dad committed suicide a few weeks ago, and it’s really made us all think about men’s mental health and the fact that men struggle so much.

“The suicide rate is really high because we don’t talk, and I think something should be done to help.

“The most incredible thing is how we’ve met so many people on the journey so far, and when they ask what we’re raising money for, so many of them open up about their own issues.

“I can’t believe the amount of people who have told us they’ve been affected by suicide, or by mental health issues in men. The fact we’re raising money for Andy’s Man Club has encouraged them to open up to us and that’s just amazing.

He added: “The first 60 miles was the worst part, but I think our bodies are getting used to it now. We’re going to rest on the ferry and then get on with the rest of the journey.”

At the time of publication, the two men had raised £2,300 for the charity, but they are hoping to reach more people and increase the number.

Andy’s Man Club offers free-to-attend support groups and meetings all over the UK. In Rochdale, meetings take place at the Crown Oil Arena and Mayfield Club in Castleton. Find your nearest Andy’s Man Club group here:

To donate to Billy and Stan’s cause, visit:

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