'Completing the Sheffield Half Marathon has changed my life'

A man who raised over £3,000 for charity by running the Sheffield Half Marathon in memory of his late brother says it has changed his life.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 15:42
John Offord running the Sheffield Half Marathon today

John Offord completed the gruelling 13.1 mile route this afternoon as a touching tribute to his brother Anthony, who died aged just 35 after collapsing in a flat as a paramedic waited outside.

This was John's first half marathon, and believes Anthony would be proud of him for completing it.

Anthony Offord died in April 2013, aged 35

"I was so nervous this morning, but getting to see my friends and family there as I crossed the finishing line was just amazing, I've never experienced anything like it.

"It's a cliché but this has changed my life. The people of Sheffield and the way they have supported me has been incredible. I couldn't have done it without them," said John of Greno Crescent, Grenoside.

Anthony suffered from mental health problems from the age of 16, and John ran the half marathon in aid of mental health charity, Mind.

He has raised over £3,110 so far, but says creating awareness of mental health issues is even more important to him.

John Offord celebrates with a beer after completing his first ever half marathon

"Mental health in the UK is still woefully underfunded – and psychological conditions are not treated as seriously as physical ones. It's for this reason I wanted to raise awareness of the fact no-one has to face a mental health problem alone."

John, aged 38, added: "You can help people just by listening. I'd like to be a mental health campaigner, and feel like I'm on a bit of a journey."

Anthony died in 2013, after collapsing at a friend's house after drinking and prescribed medication. He had also taken a small amount of heroin before arriving at the premises.

His inquest in 2014 heard how he died inside the flat as the Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedic who arrived five minutes later waited outside for 22 minutes until other paramedics arrived because she did not think it was safe to go in on her own.

Anthony Offord died in April 2013, aged 35

Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries said it was ‘more likely than not’ that Anthony ‘would have survived’ had he been given prompt treatment.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service reached an agreement with the family over the matter in 2015.

Anthony’s death came soon after his father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Anthony, who had suffered with mental health problems since his teens, took the news particularly badly.

John Offord celebrates with a beer after completing his first ever half marathon

"Our grandfather died when he was about 16, and his mental health problems sort of went from there. Our dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013, and he just couldn't cope."

To add to John's fundraising target please click here.