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Walking 4 Hope

2319. John Bell

John Bell, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, lost his 15-year-old son, Jake in 2020, leading him to co-found the charity ‘Walking 4 Hope’ and advocate for mental health well being.

John spent the first year without Jake navigating his grief, and used nature as a way to help him cope with his emotions and well-being. He founded the charity as a way to carry Jake’s name forward and support others by raising awareness and helping to build emotional resilience for people struggling with their mental health. John offers practical advice, support and signposting to other organisations and runs several different support groups and activities, including for families and bereaved parents.  

He has also raised over £45,000 by undertaking a range of physical fundraising challenges, including in March, a 140 mile walk from Mansfield to Wrexham football stadiums, dressed as his son’s favourite character ‘Deadpool’, receiving the support of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. 

This award for John coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, a week that aims to tackle stigma and help people understand and prioritise their and others’ mental health.

John said:

“To hear that I had been nominated and chosen for an award from the Prime Minister was quite overwhelming. I do kind things and create hope since losing my son Jake, because I cultivate loving friendliness, making my heart a nice place for my boy to live. It is great to know so many people are being inspired by just something so simple as my love for my son. All I have to do is turn up and put 1 foot in front of the other, and I wont ever stop raising awareness by giving and creating hope.”

Find out more about ‘Walking 4 Hope

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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