Dave Howard, 40, is a lorry driver for IDS Transport from Evesham, Worcestershire. 

He is running the Virgin London Marathon in memory of his close friend Matt West, who he lost to suicide last year.

Dave is raising funds for Samaritans.

Dave Howard

“Matt and I had known each other since we were five years old, we spent all our school years together.  As childhood ended, our friendship grew - we played football for a few different teams, took part in raft races and were both part of a local band. Our mutual love of music gave us many happy memories which I will cherish forever.

“Matt has a son, Liam, 19, who he was eternally proud of and he was always at the forefront of his thoughts. 

“Despite his positive exterior, Matt went through some really tough times, particularly with the tragic deaths of his parents, which hit him hard. He didn’t really know how to deal with his loss and seemed to lose his way a bit.

“Everyone was really shocked when Matt took his life, he was just 38 years old. So many questions were left unanswered - Why didn’t he talk to anyone? Why didn’t anyone spot that he was in a difficult place?

“After Matt’s death, I found myself reminiscing about the times we shared together.  A memory that stuck out to me was when we had been watching the London Marathon together and Matt suggested that I run it.  At the time, I laughed it off, but when he died, I made it my mission to run it in his memory.

 “When I am training, I listen to music that Matt and I enjoyed together, including songs from our old band. Hearing Matt sing while I run keeps me going, and reminds me why I am taking on this enormous challenge.

“I have already received some fantastic donations for my run, including Matt’s previous employers -   Walsh Mushrooms, R Sinclair Transport and IDS Transport, though I am still a way off my fundraising goal of £2,600.

“I am nervous about running 26 miles, but knowing I am doing this for Matt, and Samaritans, will keep me going.  My wife suffers from depression, so I can relate to the help that Samaritans provides, I just wish Matt had known about the support they offer. I take comfort in knowing that the funds I raise will go to preventing someone else losing a friend like I have.”

Help Dave Howard reach his fundraising goal by sponsoring him http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DaveHoward1