‘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 ever have got out of a dark spiral”.

A charitable Newcastle United fan is taking on the task of walking from Wembley Stadium to St. James' Park.

Josh Banyard will trek from the home of football in London to his side's stadium in the North East to raise money for the Newcastle United Foundation.

The Newcastle fan credits the charity for saving his life.

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He said: "I went through really bad mental health struggles.

"I got lucky and fell into a campaign the Foundation do called 12th Man.

"That led to me finding out about the Be a Game Changer campaign and sharing my own mental health journey.

"For some reason, it seemed to take off and it's led to some really fantastic opportunities.

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"The Foundation and the campaign helped to save my life - without them, I don't think I would ever have got out of a dark spiral.

"I try and fundraise as much as I can for them as a way of giving 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-ownersJosh with the Newcastle co-owners
Josh with the Newcastle co-owners | -

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

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He said: "They are two of the most incredible and genuine people I've ever met.

"They were so humble and so welcoming.

"They were being asked questions by Gaby Logan but 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 set off from Wembley Stadium on Monday, August 22 and walk for five days to finish at St. James' Park.

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Josh had already completed the Great North Run for the causeJosh had already completed the Great North Run for the cause
Josh had already completed the Great North Run for the cause | -

Josh will be joined by best-friend Scott and the two will call at Geordie-inspired non-league outfit Hanwell Town on the way.

Josh said: "I've had a lot of good luck messages and people offering to put us up for the night and walk along with us a little bit, that's really nice.

"Hanwell Town reached out to me months ago about the work I was doing with mental health, to congratulate me after I won the award.

"We got chatting over Twitter and I thought I might as well join them in as they are close to Wembley Stadium anyway."

You can sponsor Josh and Scott on their challenge here.

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