A woman from Great Henny is testing her endurance by taking on two marathons in memory of her aunt.
Gabriella Stanley, of Clay Hill, will take part in the long distance challenges to raise money for two mental health charities close to her heart.
Miss Stanley is running The Vitality Big Half in London on March 4, with the target of raising £500 for the Mental Health Foundation.
Six weeks later, she will compete in the Brighton Marathon, with the goal of raising £1,500 for Mind – a charity which provides support and raises awareness of mental health conditions.
Miss Stanley, who works as an accounting executive in London, said the experience would be very personal, after both her aunt and school friend took their own lives.
She explained that her aunt, who was in her 40s when she died, had suffered from depression.
“She never received help but help is available for those who want it,” said Miss Stanley. “The problem is that a lot of people are afraid to ask for it.”
The 24-year-old explained that her aunt’s death had been very difficult on her mother, who was her only sister.
The marathons will be a big challenge for Miss Stanley, who has never taken part in one before.
She recalls cheating in a cross country race at school. “I got in a lot of trouble” she said.
Miss Stanley started training for the challenges last month, and runs four times a week.
She will also be organising a charity clothes sales at Long Melford Old School, on Saturday, March 10, from noon to 4pm, with proceeds being donated to Mind.
Homemade cakes will be on offer, alongside relaxation treatments and a raffle.
Miss Stanley’s boyfriend will be showing his support by manning a pop-up barber stall on the day.
A table will be set up for people to write down the names of any loved-ones affected by mental health.
Miss Stanley intends to have the names printed on a T-shirt, which she will wear during her marathons.
She hopes the sale event will give people the opportunity to discuss the issue of mental health, and the support services available.
“It’s so nice to be able to talk about our problems,” she said.“I think young people brush it off, and men especially struggle to talk about their feelings.”