‘The Foundation saved my life’: Newcastle United fan takes on ambitious challenge to give back

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The Newcastle United fan said that without the Foundation, “I don’t think I would have ever come out of a dark spiral”.

A Newcastle United charity fan takes charge of the walk from Wembley Stadium to St. James’s Park.

Josh Banyard will depart from the birthplace of football in London to his team’s stadium in the North East to raise funds for the Newcastle United Foundation.

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The Newcastle fan thanks the charity for saving his life.

He said: “I went through some very serious mental health issues.

“I got lucky and stumbled across a Foundation campaign called 12th Man.

“It led me to learn about the Be a Game Changer campaign and share my own mental health journey.

“For some reason it seemed to take off and it led to some really fantastic opportunities.

“The Foundation and the campaign helped save my life – without them I don’t think I would have ever come out of a dark spiral.

“I try to raise as much money as possible for them to give back.”

Josh won the United as One award for his mental health advocacy and bravery in sharing his story last year.

Josh with the Newcastle co-owners

Presented with the trophy at an official ceremony, the Magpies fan had the chance to meet co-owners Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Amanda Staveley.

He said: “They are two of the most amazing and genuine people I have ever met.

“They were so humble and so welcoming.

“Gaby Logan asked them questions but they just wanted to talk to me, they were fantastic.”

Josh has already completed the Great North Run and Three Peaks challenge to raise money for the foundation, and now has his goal set on the 275 mile walk.

The fundraiser will depart from Wembley Stadium on Monday August 22 and will walk for five days ending at St. James’s Park.

Josh had already completed the Great North Run for the cause

Josh will be joined by his best friend Scott and the two will be using a non-league outfit inspired by Geordie Town of Hanwell on my way.

Josh said: “I’ve had lots of good luck messages and people offering to put us up for the night and walk with us a bit, it’s really nice.

“Hanwell Town contacted me months ago about the work I was doing with mental health, to congratulate me on winning the award.

“We chatted on Twitter and thought I might as well join them as they’re close to Wembley Stadium anyway.”

You can sponsor Josh and Scott on their challenge here.

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