WSB walks to Derby in memory of Ashley ‘Selly’ Salkeld

On the 3rd of March, 30+ idiots will set off from Oakwell on a 50 mile plus walk to Derby to raise funds for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – in memory of Ashley Salkeld. Here, his good friend Beth Deakin @bethdeak tells us why it’s such an important charity. If you want to join us, email weststandbogs@gmail.com for more details. You can donate at www.justgiving.com/west-stand-bogs

In late October 2016 we lost our mate Ashley David Salkeld – Selly – far too soon. He was 25 years old. He was an absolute top lad, who injected mischief and laughter into just about any situation. As an opening that seems like a cliché – the type of thing people say when someone passes away, especially when they are young. But it’s the simplest way to describe Selly. He was larger than life; the constant centre of attention everywhere he went and his wicked sense of humour was impossible not to laugh with, at and love.

However, behind the joker was a broken lad that had personal battles linking to his mental health. His death came as a huge shock to people he loved – his family, partner and crowds of friends, who continually looked to Selly for a good time.

Tragically, Selly has become part of one of the most horrendous statistics I have seen – 76% of suicides in the UK are male. The biggest killer of men under the age of 45 is suicide. Why?

One explanation is that lads don’t talk about stuff. The deep stuff, hard stuff or even the little stuff that does your head in. The strong, silent male. This is one cliché that we just cannot accept anymore.

Promoting mental health services, awareness and well-being is paramount. Since Selly left us, our incredibly masculine ex-mining community has come together like we have never seen before and lads have started to talk.

Although mental health services exist in our town, what needs to be encouraged is something incredibly simple. Being frank, open and honest about mental health will help so many in need, who are being strong yet silent.

This is why we aim to campaign and promote mental health and well-being in our town – particularly to GET LADS TALKING!

Selly was the ultimate sportsman, who tried just about every sport going, and he was annoyingly good at everything! This is why we are determined to use sport as a vice, to get people talking and raise as much money as possible. Our initial aim is to raise £14,000 – a target based on Selly’s shirt number. This is to be distributed to between mental health charities like CALM and to promote and set up local initiatives.

Thank you so much to all of you for taking part in and supporting this immense and crackers walk! Of course the money you raise will be a tremendous help, but do us one thing – get talking about stuff!

Selly famously changed his team when we were kids – from an Owl to a Red. So I suppose all that’s left to say is, (as much as it pains me!) YOU REDS!!