ABOUT 60 men have raised more than £12,500 after attempting to walk 60km while raising awareness about mental health issues.

The group of men – known as the 'Darlo lads' – have been taking part in Movember, to raise money for the mental health charity.

As well as growing their moustaches, they set out to walk 60km in a single day, setting out in the early hours to enable them to get from upper Teesdale to Darlington.

Joe Crees, who organised it, said: "It seems important because of what everyone has gone through, as a nation and as a world, over the last few months.

"Now, more than ever, mental health is playing a part in people's lives."

The 25-year-old, who is an account manager for an app development company, was initially going to do the walk by himself but was joined by dozens more after mentioning it to friends.

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He said: "It was a really good challenge as well as raising awareness about mental health. The idea behind it was to get people talking about it and normalise it a bit.

"What was brilliant was that it genuinely got people talking. There was a good handful of messages that people sent to me thanking people for taking part.

"People were opening up and walking and talking so I think it served its purpose."

He added; "It was bloody hard. The last six miles were seriously hard. It was just painful and we were so tired because we left Darlington at 1am so we could finish in daylight.

"Not everyone finished it."

The distance was chosen because globally, 60 men die by suicide every hour – or one a minute.

They walked from Langdon Beck, in County Durham, to Darlington, setting off in groups to enable people to remain socially distanced.

Josh Fraser, also 25, who works at BHP Law, said: "It's such a pertinent issue so it was good to be involved.

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"With lockdown more people are struggling with not being able to see friends and family.

"I liked the idea of the challenge but to do it for such a relevant purpose was a good and necessary thing to do.

"It created a bit of light in a pretty dark year."

They have raised more than £12,500 throughout the month of November, with some cash donations still to be made.

To find out more visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darlolads-walktalk