A Teesside Sunday league football team are raising money in memory of a former RAF serviceman who took his own life.

Cameron Green, 25, from Stockton, will be undertaking a seven-mile ‘stretcher run’ along with his team Rimswell FC to help raise money for mental health charity MIND Teesside and cancer charity Bright Red.

The run will take place on Saturday (January 13) and begin from the Rimswell Pub in Stockton before finishing at the Riverside stadium.

The run is inspired by a training method from Mr Green’s time in basic training for the RAF.

The Northern Echo: Rimswell FC

It will involve six to eight people holding the scoop stretcher in pairs of two carrying the stretcher while running – with other pairs taking over from stretcher bearers as they become fatigued.

Mr Green said he was motivated to begin his team in 2022 after his friend took his own life – and added he wanted to help support men’s mental health.

He said: “During basic training, me and my friend who passed away, we became very close very quickly. In the RAF, it’s not as often you meet people who are quite similar to yourself.

“We kept in touch for quite a while, and then, I just started to notice a change in him, he wouldn’t communicate like he used to.

“If it happened to me now, I think I would be a lot more on the ball to click on and think, that’s not right, there’s something not okay with what’s going on with him and maybe explore it a bit more.

“With this being quite a few years ago, whether it’s lack of training or immaturity, I just didn’t understand that it could be a sign of mental health.

“That’s kind of why I brought the team together, that was the reason why I started the football team in the first place.”

He said he found out the news from a former RAF colleague after losing touch with his friend.

He said those taking part in the run will be carrying a 60kg mannequin, provided by a local training centre, as they make their way Middlesbrough.

“Second to this, some of the lads, members of their families are suffering from cancer, so, we decided to pick a cancer charity,” he added.

“This just gives us all something to get together and work as a team to hopefully raise enough funds to help other people in need who might need that funding.

“As one big unit of around 16 lads, we’ll run to the finish line where we hope to see the members of the charities and all our friends and family, [and] have a little celebration of the event coming to an end.

“Hopefully, we’ve made enough money to help either charity.”

Mr Green added it was “massively important” that mental health be spotlighted, and said he believes it’s important to help people seize more control in their lives to combat poor mental health.

He said he believes it’s important to help those suffering to get outside, socialise with friends, and get a level of exercise to improve their mental wellbeing.

The fundraiser has raised £1,782 at the time of writing, having smashed its previous goals of £1,000 and £1,500.

“I’m really pleased with it, I think it’s a great thing for myself and all the other members of the team, and everyone else who’s donated, it’s fantastic.

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“Especially with it being a local charity, I’m really pleased about that, helping people in close proximity to you.

“I can’t thank you enough, regardless of whether you’ve donated or shared, I massively appreciate it, the football team massively appreciate it, and we promise them that the two charities will massively appreciate it.”

You can find the fundraiser here.