From left, Andy Airey, Mike Palmer and Tim Owen. Picture: PAPYRUS

A Shouldham man who is taking part in the 3 Dads Walking challenge said he has been left “stunned and humbled” with the outpouring of donations and support. 

Tim Owen is almost halfway through the 300-mile fundraiser along with Mike Palmer, of Manchester, and Andy Airey, of Cumbria, and so far a staggering £314,000 has been raised.

The trio are walking together in memory of their daughters to “spread the word and save lives” by raising funds and awareness for young suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.

And they were delighted their cause received an unexpected £10,000 boost from James Bond star Daniel Craig last week.

Mr Owen said: “We are absolutely humbled by the support we are getting and had never expected this level of interest in our walk – our initial fundraising target was £3,000 each and we are stunned. 

“From the smallest donation to that of Daniel Craig, it’s all so much appreciated and could save a life. Every £5 supports a call to HOPELINEUK, PAPYRUS’s lifesaving helpline.”

The dads, who had only met in person a couple of times before their mammoth trek which began last Saturday, were brought together by the devastating loss of a daughter to suicide.

Mr Owen’s daughter Emily was 19 when she died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn last March. Emily, who had autism, had been struggling to cope with lockdown as the pandemic got underway.

Mr Airey’s 29-year-old daughter Sophie took her own life in 2018 and Mr Palmer’s daughter Beth died in 2020, aged 17.

“We are meeting so many people who have been impacted by suicide, either many years ago or more recently,” said Mr Owen.

“We walked over 20 miles with a dad who lost his daughter only four weeks ago – he was a hardy farmer from Lancashire and he just wanted to tell us his and his daughter’s story. 

“Many parents are saying this has given them the opportunity and permission to discuss young suicide with their children. 

“This is the biggest killer of under 35s and we need to recognise it as a nation and do something about it.” 

After starting in Morland, Cumbria, the dads have been walking a series of routes, averaging 20 miles a day and they are due to finish in Shouldham on Sunday, October 23. 

A spokesperson for PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, said: “Daniel Craig has clearly been very moved by the indescribable pain which the three dads and their families continue to suffer following the tragic loss of their daughters to suicide.

 “His generosity and the kind donations from many others will help Andy, Mike and Tim to bring something positive out of the utter devastation of losing a child to suicide and enable PAPYRUS to continue giving hope to young people who are struggling with life.”

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/3DadsWalking1

For help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org