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The Rimsey Advertiser
11:50am Friday 27th February 2009
A VICAR is lacing up his running shoes for a heartfelt charity event in Romsey – a year to the day after the tragic death of a popular town chorister.
The Rev Tim Sledge will finish his service at Romsey Abbey on Sunday, then jog through the town to remember choir member, Peter Brook, who took his own life last year.
The vicar will be joined on his mile-long challenge by Peter’s son, Matt and son-in-law, David, who are running the London Marathon in April to raise money for the mental health charity MIND.
Mr Sledge said: “Peter was an integral part of the Abbey and his wife, Bridget, continues to be. She is the driving force behind this.
“The tragedy has raised a very important issue, which is so often taboo. Indeed, you could say that people run a mile from mental health for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.
“Therefore, I want to run a mile for mental health, so that more people are aware of this illness, and we can then begin to go some way to changing attitudes and improve the understanding of mental health issues.”
Mr Brook, 51, of Homefield, had worked in further education, particularly in the land-based sector, prior to taking the job as head of a college.
His wife told an inquest how his sleep pattern had become irregular and that he had become anxious.
By December, 2007, the inquest heard, he was using antidepressants and sleeping medication and had been referred to the community mental health team. His condition had improved slightly in 2008, a coroner was told, but he was discovered dead at his home by his wife in February last year.
His son, Matt, said he and David wanted to run the marathon to raise awareness of mental health issues and support groups.
“Organisations such as SHIFT, ‘Time to Change’, MIND, and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health are doing some wonderful work and we want to support them and bring something to life out of the loss we feel as a family.”