10 October 2019

Technology Teacher, Mr Graham, took on a sporting challenge to help him overcome the grief of losing his brother.

Mr Graham was one of just nine people chosen out of 1200 applicants to participate in Bridgestone’s Everyday Battlers campaign.  In conjunction with the Olympic Association and Team GB, the campaign is about learning to live with what’s happened and making something positive out of it.

He embarked on a four-month regime of physical and mental well-being training for a 10km run, which he completed at the Olympic Park, London on 21 September.

Mr Graham’s brother Damian took his own life in January 2018.  He said: “It was a massive shock, he had issues but he was incredibly bright. He had been at UCLan studying to be an English teacher and his assignments were that good they gave him a posthumous degree.

“He was incredibly gifted. It has hit me hard. I became a teacher because of him. I saw the Everyday Battler advert and I applied, hoping it will help me.”

Adam’s story touched the hearts of the Bridgestone judging panel, who immediately contacted him to take part.

Bridgestone enlisted the help of diver Chris Mears, who won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics, and performance psychologist, Professor Greg Whyte, with mental and physical support during Adam’s training.

After completing the 10k run in 59 minutes 49 seconds, Mr Graham said: “It has been some journey. I didn’t think that this was possible four months ago, but I made it and I want to do more now. Damian was on my mind the whole way round. I know that he was looking down watching me.

“In terms of mental health, people need to speak up and share their feelings. My story is quite a sensitive subject but the barriers can come down when you speak up.”

Mr Graham has started a community Facebook group called ‘Rise & Shine Blackburn’ to support others, and has also started a running club at Priory on Tuesdays, after school, for pupils and staff.

Mr Graham will also be running Priory’s 6km sponsored walk.