Suffolk

Danny Ayres death: Partner urges fans over mental health

Danny Ayres at the Sports Insure British Final in Manchester in July 2019 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Danny Ayres rode in the Speedway GB British Final at Belle Vue in Manchester in July

The partner of speedway rider Danny Ayres has encouraged anyone struggling with their mental health to seek help after he "lost his battle".

News of the Ipswich Witches and Scunthorpe Scorpions rider's sudden death was announced on Saturday.

Jodie Pledge said Ayres, 33, was only ever "free from any troubles and cares" when riding.

She urged anyone struggling with their own mental health to "talk to someone. Anyone".

In a public tribute on Facebook, Ms Pledge wrote: "Danny absolutely lived for speedway. That was the only place he was truly free, free from any troubles and cares in his mind.

"He absolutely adored his fans. It was his utmost joy to be your ballsy entertainer and riding that dirt line on the edge."

She urged anyone with mental health issues to "open up and talk to someone", and encouraged the speedway family to "pull together".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Danny Ayres, 33, had just signed with the Ipswich Witches and renewed his Scunthorpe Scorpions contract

"Just know that you are loved and NOT alone," she said.

Ayres had been a professional speedway rider since 2014 and competed in the National and Premier leagues during his career.

Ipswich Witches, who Ayres had signed to for the 2020 season, said they were "deeply saddened" by his death.

Ayres was born in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and began his career with the Kent Kings.

He went on to captain the Mildenhall Tigers and had just signed with the Ipswich Witches for the 2020 season.

Phil Kirk, co-owner of Mildenhall Tigers, said the news had been "devastating" and called Ayres a "true legend".

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