Thunder fan raising mental health issues

​A RUGBY League fan from Middlesbrough will drop into the Vestacare Stadium on Monday afternoon as part of a day-long tour of clubs to raise mental health awareness.

Richard Kirby (54), a Newcastle Thunder fan, will be accompanied by former Thunder coach Chris Hood.

They will attempt to visit 12 professional clubs inside eight hours, starting off at Newcastle and then taking in Castleford Tigers, Wakefield Trinity, Dewsbury Rams, Leeds Rhinos, Bradford Bulls, Huddersfield Giants, Rochdale Hornets, Oldham, Salford Red Devils, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.

Richard, who works in the NHS, has been undertaking various challenges for mental health awareness since 2014.

He himself has had a chronic but relatively mild form of depression for more than 40 years.

As Thunder are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their only season in Super League, as Gateshead, Richard chose to do this latest challenge to link mental health issues with his love of rugby league and Thunder.

Said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton:

“I’ve told them I’ll welcome them at the Vestacare Stadium with open arms.

“Everyone at Oldham club will wish Richard good luck with this challenge and with all his efforts to promote such a worthy and important cause.”

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