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Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes backs Great York Walk 2021

Posted on 15 April 2021

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes has urged people to sign up to The Great York Walk and help raise money for mental health research.

Dame Kelly Holmes

The virtual event kicks off on 10 May with people urged to sign up for free to take on a 12-week step challenge to raise funds for the University of York’s Mentally Fit York, an initiative which supports mental health research.

Sign up

Organisers of the event hope to reach a target of 25,000 miles, the equivalent of a walk around the earth. 

This year, participants can sign up alone or as a team of up to 10 people and help cover four of the world’s continents and reach York.

Dame Kelly, who won two gold medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, said: “The Great York Walk is a fantastic initiative that promises to make a real difference to mental health in the City of York and beyond. By taking part and fundraising for Mentally Fit York, you can be part of that difference.


“As a former resident of York, hearing about initiatives like this make me really proud to keep my connection to the city by being an honorary graduate of the University of York.

“I’m hugely passionate about mental health and if you are too, I’d really encourage you to sign up to The Great York Walk with your family, friends or colleagues. By taking part and getting moving, you’ll be improving your own mental health as well as that of those around you. Entry is free and the event is virtual, so taking part is easy and open to everyone.”

Mentally Fit York is the University of York’s new fund to transform mental health on a local, national and international scale, through supporting on-the-ground initiatives and the latest groundbreaking research. 

Your support will improve mental health and wellbeing in many forms, reaching out from the University to the city's communities and beyond. Money raised will go directly towards initiatives such as Togetherall - a free online mental health platform to support students and staff at York. 

A group has been set up to advise on future allocations, and an open process is being developed for projects to apply for future funding. The group is made up of staff and students of the University with a professional or personal interest in mental health research and practice. 

Every penny

University of York Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: “One thing that defines us as a York community is the way that we rise to a challenge - and now we are going to set the biggest challenge yet.

“Every penny raised will go to supporting ground-breaking research and on-the-ground initiatives to help Mentally Fit York transform mental health, locally, nationally and internationally. 

“With your support we can achieve something incredible and help to transform mental health this summer.”

To date, the event has raised more than £50,000 to help boost mental health support across the city

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