A FOOTBALL tournament has been held in Southend to raise funds and awareness surrounding mental health issues.

The five-a-side event, which took place at Garon Park, was organised by Run Free who use the power of sport to help those suffering with depression and anxiety.

And Run Free co-founder Eddy Cooper was delighted with how the day went.

Echo: Pleased - Run Free's Eddy Cooper Pleased - Run Free's Eddy Cooper

“It’s the second year of running this tournament and we were really pleased with how it went,” said Cooper.

“It was great fun but there was a serious message behind it all too.

“We want to raise awareness of mental health issues and to also encourage those suffering to speak out.

“With that in mind we used the tournament to raise funds for South East and Central Essex Mind and also for our own pitch hire.

“We don’t charge anyone to train with us and we’re all about encouraging those who are suffering to get out and enjoy some exercise with us because that’s a huge help for anyone with mental health issues.

“We’ve formed a great group but we always welcome new members.”

Echo: Going on the attack - Run Free Yellow’s Will Paterson runs forward Going on the attack - Run Free Yellow’s Will Paterson runs forward

The tournament, which was sponsored by the Finish Line Fund, raised £700 and was won by the interestingly named ‘Yer Da Sells Avon’ who triumphed on penalties against Andy’s Man Club in the final.

Run Free was formed in 2020 and have raised £24,000 for mental health charity Mind.


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