Three Dads Walking: Trio complete 300-mile walk

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Watch: Three dads cross the finish line after walking 300 miles for a suicide prevention charity

Three fathers who lost their daughters to suicide have completed a 300-mile walk to raise funds and awareness.

Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen walked between their homes in Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Norfolk.

Celebrities including Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig donated, with the fathers raising more than £500,000 for suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

The trio, who took 15 days to do the walk, were greeted at about 09:35 BST by a crowd of cheering supporters.

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The walkers began at Mr Airey's home in Morland, Cumbria, then headed to Sale in Greater Manchester, where Mr Palmer lives, before finishing at Mr Owen's home in Shouldham, Norfolk.

Mr Airey lost his daughter Sophie, 29, just before Christmas 2018. Mr Palmer's daughter Beth was 17 when she took her own life in March 2020, a few days after Mr Owen's 18-year-old daughter Emily died.

Mr Owen said the support and "acts of kindness" shown to them along their route had been "incredible" and it had been a "great 15 days".

He said they had met "hundreds" of people affected by suicide along the way.

Image source, Papyrus
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The fathers were walking in memory of their daughters, Sophie Airey, Beth Palmer and Emily Owen

Crossing the finishing line, Mr Airey said he was "alright" and it had been a "very pleasant stroll".

He said: "We've been talking about our girls all day every day so it's like they are travelling with us all the time.

"We've always got a hole in our lives that are our girls but it's been fantastic to share some time with a lot of people and help some people along the way."

At the scene

By Alison Freeman, BBC Look North correspondent

It was an emotional moment as Tim, Mike and Andy approached the finish line clutching the pictures of their three daughters Emily, Sophie and Beth.

The final stretch of the walk was lined with bunting and the cheering crowd waved flags as the dads walked the final 50 yards on the green in Tim's home village of Shouldham.

There was an immense sense of pride from tearful family and friends, proud that the men had not only raised a vast sum of money but also opened up the conversation about suicide - making it easier for people to talk about it and reach out for help.

After all the media interviews, a bagpiper played to the men as they headed into the village pub where they could get their first, well-earned post-walk pint together.

Mr Palmer said it had been "tremendous" and "overwhelming", adding he "really hoped we have helped" raise money and awareness of the help out there for people contemplating suicide.

Papyrus chief executive Ged Flynn said the three fathers were "lifesavers" who had "changed the landscape" and "shattered stigma".

Image source, Papyrus
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As well as fundraising, they wanted to raise awareness of the help and support available

Each walker had set out to raise £3,000 each but their story has sparked a huge response from the public as well as the celebrity donors.

Both Ms Kidman and Mr Craig donated £10,000 each, while former Manchester United star Lou Macari gave £10,001.

Ms Kidman said she had been "profoundly moved" by the fathers after seeing their story on the BBC, saying they were "three completely brilliant dads doing a completely brilliant thing".

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