A BEREAVED dad taking on a walking challenge has been inspired by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney after they donated £15k to charity.

John Bell, a bereaved father to Jake Bell and co-founder of Walking 4 Hope, is embarking on a monumental journey, a campaign to raise awareness, and support young people, families, and bereaved parents of suicide.

The 45-year-old is walking the 140-mile journey from his hometown of Mansfield to Wrexham in time for the game on Good Friday. 

Walking 4 Hope is a charity that supports the mental health and well being of individuals that are struggling. They work with young people and adults to support mental health and build resilience through reconnection with nature.

After John sadly lost his son Jake in 2020, he set up the charity to help support others after struggling with his own mental health.

"I suffered with my mental health in the first year and found myself losing track of what was important," John said. 

"Then I started walking and set up the charity and I absolutely love it, it's just about pushing myself and the more I push myself the closer I feel to my son. 

"Nothing can beat me now, this challenge and ones like it are nothing compared to losing my son. I have to give myself hope every day and these walking challenges do that."

This week, John is walking approximately 140 miles from Mansfield Football Club to Wrexham's SToK Cae Ras over 7 days, arriving in time for the Reds clash with the Stags on Friday.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, which is documenting all of John's plans for the week ahead.

The Leader: John BellJohn Bell (Image: UGC)

He will be dressed as Deadpool (in honour of his son's favourite character) and will carry a specially adapted bath displaying ducks sponsored by those bereaved by suicide, honouring lost loved ones. 

John's efforts caught the attention of Deadpool himself, who alongside Wrexham co-chairman Rob McElhenney, sent messages of support as well as donating £15,000 to the Walking 4 Hope fundraising page.


The donation and words of encouragement left John inspired, he said: "It meant a hell of a lot. 

"Perhaps I maybe expected a little joke on social media from Ryan or a video, but even then I didn't think I'd get that. 

"He messaged me personally and I was honestly shaking, his words were an inspiration, it was just amazing. 

"Both Ryan and Rob are just amazing guys, I am so thankful for them and the donation, which in turn will help support so many people and their families. 

"The finances are amazing and they help so much, but even the messages of support just provide hope, which is what these challenges are all about."