Slimmers support Sunderland man’s Everest effort in memory of wife and son

Paula Whiting with members of her Monkwearmouth Slimming World Group who have helped to support Gary Stoker on his charity fund raising trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
Paula Whiting with members of her Monkwearmouth Slimming World Group who have helped to support Gary Stoker on his charity fund raising trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
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THEY might not reach his dizzy heights, but that isn’t stopping these slimmers pulling on their walking boots for Everest trekker Gary Stoker.

The group of determined Slimming World members took part in a seven-mile walk in support of Gary, currently heading for Everest base-camp.

Intrepid explorer Gary Stoker, who is trekking to Base Camp Everest in memory of his wife Irene and son Colin, who both took their own lives.

Intrepid explorer Gary Stoker, who is trekking to Base Camp Everest in memory of his wife Irene and son Colin, who both took their own lives.

Fifty members took part in the walk from Roker to Souter Lighthouse and back.

They aimed to raise as much money as possible for Gary, who is trekking to Base Camp Everest in memory of his wife Irene and son Colin, who both took their own lives.

Gary, 51, from Rickleton, set off from Manchester last Wednesday carrying a flag of hope on behalf of two Wearside charities – Washington Mind Young Persons’ Project and charity If U Care Share.

Families who have lost loved ones to suicide signed their names on the flag, which will be placed at Base Camp when Gary arrives.

Slimming World consultant Paula Whiting led the walkers in support of friend Gary, whose wife took her own life 14 years after Colin.

She said: “It’s part of a 12-week countdown to losing weight called Let’s Beat It, where we do something for the community.

“I was blown away by If U Care Share. It lets kids know there’s somebody there for them. We’re hoping to raise more than £1,000.”

Fund-raising will continue until he arrives home next month, when Paula will present him with a cheque for the total amount raised to be split between the charities.

To make a donation, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/garyseveresttrek and follow Gary’s progress on Twitter @GaryMSt.

Twitter: @janethejourno

If U Care Share began after 19-year-old Daniel O’Hare, from Great Lumley, took his own life.

His brothers Matthew and Ben, along with cousin Sarah, then aged just 10, five and 13, hoped to do something positive to try to prevent another family suffering.

They launched a wristband encouraging young people to share their problems and the project eventually became a registered charity, run by Daniel’s mum Shirley.

For more information, see www.ifucareshare.co.uk

Washington Mind Young People’s Project works with 16 to 25-year-olds.

For more information call tel. 417 8043, text 07807 395561 or email ypp@washington.org.uk.

Suicide is now one of the biggest killers of young men in this country aged 14 to 24 years and 75 per cent have had no prior contact with mental health services.