A father-of-three who set up a Huddersfield-based football team to help dads who have lost babies is running to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
Alex Walmsley set up Sands United West Yorkshire, a team for men who have lost a baby shortly before, during or after birth.
Alex hopes to raise at least £500 by running the Leeds 10K which takes place, appropriately, on Sunday June 18 – Fathers’ Day.
Alex will be raising money for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, and Sands United West Yorkshire.
Running on Fathers’ Day will be especially poignant for Alex as he and wife Olivia suffered the loss of three babies. Olivia and their children Isaac, nine, Toby, three, and one-year-old Teddy will be there to cheer him on.
Money raised from sponsorship will be split equally between the main charity and the team, which was set up in 2020 and features players from across the county.
Alex said: “Men’s mental health is a big thing. It’s hard to find an outlet when, as a man, you lose a baby. Football is a conduit for that.
“As much as it’s about the fundraising, it’s also about raising awareness to get men the help that they need if they are suffering from baby loss. Don’t repress it.”
Alex is hoping to raise as much as he can on the day. Anything up to £500 will be matched by his employer Lloyds Banking Group.
He’s now heavily into a training regime, running up to four times a week. And having previously run the Leeds 10K in 2017 and 2018 he recognises the challenge ahead of him.
Alex lives in Heckmondwike and has the support of his local MP, Batley & Spen Labour MP Kim Leadbeater.
Ms Leadbeater said: “I’ve known Alex and his family for a couple of years. We met when I knocked on his door during the by-election in 2021 and have stayed in touch ever since.
“I have been extremely impressed by how they have turned their personal tragedy into something that can help other people in similar situations.
“I wish Alex the very best for the Leeds 10K and for his admirable fundraising work.”
Alex’s JustGiving page can be found HERE.