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Former Bourne Town FC boss Jimmy McDonnell is charity fundraiser for Don't Lose Hope

Former Bourne Town football boss Jimmy McDonnell is set to embark on a marathon effort to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

The Wakes stalwart - who served the Abbey Lawn club as both a player and manager - is set to run the equivalent of four marathons in seven days to raise money for the Bourne-based Don't Lose Hope charity.

Jimmy spoke out publicly in February about his battle with mental health in a bid to encourage others to come forward.

Jimmy McDonnell. (34816444)
Jimmy McDonnell. (34816444)

He had joined forces with Bourne Town Football Club to hold a charity day at the Abbey Lawn this month.

However, following the coronavirus pandemic, the event has been postponed so Jimmy - who has been running regularly during the lockdown - has now decided to combine his efforts to help the North Street charity.

He explained: "Our charity day will still go-ahead but, with what we're going through, we don't know when it will be.

"We need 200 people down there to make it a good day and, rightly so, we don't know when we will be allowed to have gatherings of that size.

"We had a good thing set up so to just keep it going and have the awareness of it there I decided to do a run.

"I'm doing the miles anyway so I thought that I could combine both things."

Jimmy plans to run a total of 104 miles during the week - at an average of 15 a day.

He is starting to pound the charity beat today (Monday) with the aim of completing his final total on Sunday which will mark a significant milestone in his recovery.

Jimmy added: "It will be six months on Sunday since I've had any alcohol and when my breakdown started so it ties in nicely with what I've been through and running has helped me massively.

Don't Lose Hope (34816457)
Don't Lose Hope (34816457)

"I was always one for my running as a youngster and, although I went off into football, I always had that level of fitness.

"It's something that I've enjoyed doing so much again and it's left me wondering why I stopped doing it.

"That's the big thing for me because you just lose interest in all the things that you love and care about.

"I've always known that there are people in this world who are worse off than me but, when you're in this, you don't think like that because it's all dark around you and everything just falls away."

Any of the funds raised by Jimmy's efforts will be going to the Don't Lose Hope charity which is aiming to run emotional resilience workshops in schools.

It costs £7,500 a year to run the workshops and Jimmy feels they could be crucial for youngsters following the recent lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

He commented: "I'm not looking to raise that amount of money, but anything we can get will all add up and people don't have to give anything they haven't got, just what they can afford.

"We do need to remember that many people have sadly passed away due to the coronavirus, but a lot of charities are struggling.

"It's just about trying to give Don't Lose Hope a little bit of a leg up because their cafe is closed, our fundraiser at the football club has been postponed as well as a charity walk they had planned so I'm just trying to do my bit.

The premises for Don't Lose Hope in Bourne (34816482)
The premises for Don't Lose Hope in Bourne (34816482)

"It's about keeping this charity in people's eyes because some young lad might not have seen anything about it and, if he's struggling, it might give him a shot in the arm to go and see a parent or someone in his family and talk about it.

"This lockdown hasn't really affected me because it's just what I've been doing for three months previously.

"But there is going to be a lot of people who will struggle with their mental health while this is going on.

"If it means me putting my trainers on and doing a bit of running then why not because the reality of what's been going on is that there will be a lot of people who struggle coming out of this."

Jimmy would like to thank Lincolnshire Runner, Spice of Life from Bourne and Marks and Spencer of Bourne for their support.

Anyone wishing to donate can visit dontlosehope.co.uk/donate/

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