Legal partner in half-marathon for sports mental health cause
An Ilkley legal expert is running a half-marathon on behalf of a cause which supports sports people with mental health issues.
Steven Gilbey, partner at Eatons Solicitors, is taking part in the inaugural Ilkley Half Marathon on 14 July on behalf of TOOTS; #TalkOutSideOfTheScrum, a charitable cause founded by rugby player, James Griffin.
With more than 30 years of legal experience and a background in playing cricket for Ben Rhydding Cricket Club, Steven joined the group to offer expert legal advice and support a cause benefitting his local community.
“When I heard about James setting up TOOTS, I knew I wanted to be involved. Offering a safe space for sports people to open up and talk about any issues they’re facing either on or off the field is an important first step,” said Steven, who specialises in employment law and civil and commercial litigation at the Church Street firm, having joined TOOTS as company secretary and trustee.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in the Ilkley Half Marathon on behalf of TOOTS and I know the whole Eatons team is behind me too! The race is going to be a great day in Ilkley and the surrounding area – I hope to see a few ‘TOOT salutes’ in the crowds!” added Steven, referring to the charitable group’s noticeable arm gesture.
James, who has played rugby union for more than 30 years, set up the awareness-raising organisation in 2018. He said: “Rugby players, whether they play in union or league, are encouraged not to show weakness on the pitch and this can often transfer into the rest of their lives too; unfortunately there is still a perceived stigma when it comes to people opening up about mental health issues.
“I founded TOOTS as a hub for rugby players to open up and feel comfortable talking to one another about how they’re feeling. Sports in general can be an incredibly pressurised environment; you’re always playing to be the best with the risk of feeling like failure. TOOTS is a safe space for people to come together and open up about issues they face and, hopefully, understand that there shouldn’t be any feelings of embarrassment. I’m delighted to have Steven on the board of trustees and the Eatons team’s support in raising awareness and funds for the cause.”
Funds raised by Steven and Eatons Solicitors in Ilkley will go towards the continued awareness raising of TOOTS and arranging informative events to educate people about the cause.
“Our first event will be held in October as an open evening for people to find out more about TOOTS and the need for it; we’ll have a short talk from trustee and local rugby player Ben Maddison who can discuss the pressures faced in sport and the impact on mental health. Hopefully, with continued fundraising, we can reach a wider audience and build up awareness of the cause and help a greater number of sportspeople realise they’re not alone,” added Steven.
The race has been organised by the Ilkley and District Round Table and will see attendees on a route through the Wharfe Valley including Ilkley, Ben Rhydding, Addingham and Crier Hill.
Eatons Solicitors has provided commercial and personal legal services for more than 130 years and is one of Yorkshire’s leading solicitors practices.