Brother and sister from Thame pub raise thousands for mental health services by completing endurance challenge

The pair donned their running shoes to raise awareness for a relatively new mental health charity.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:56 pm

A brother and sister working at The Thatch in Thame have completed a 84km running challenge for The Burnt Chef Project.

They raised over £4,000 for the charity which specialises in offering mental health support to hospitality workers.

Thatch head chef James Durrant and his sister Lindsey Hobbs, who looks after marketing for the pub, spent six weeks running to raise money for the service.

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The Burnt Chef Project

Both have suffered from anxiety in the past and handpicked the charity which operates within their field of work.

The pair hoped as well as raising some money for a good cause, by picking a mental health charity, it might inspire more conversations among colleagues about their wellbeing.

The challenge was to run 84k in six weeks, Peach Pub Group, which owns The Thatch, donated 25p from every main course sold from the pubs' specials boards between 17 May and 30 June.

"I've been a supporter of The Burnt Chef Project since day one, because I loved that it was hospitality focused, I could really identify with it," says James. "I have anxiety and have done since I was a child. I'm quite good at talking about it, especially with family and close friends, and have developed my own coping mechanisms, but anxiety is something I deal with on an almost daily basis.

James Durant and Lindsey Hobbs outside The Thatch

"Although talking through my problems helps me, I know that not everyone feels they can talk about their mental health. That's where The Burnt Chef Project comes in, providing support for individuals and resources for their employers to manage mental health in the workplace," he says.

The Burnt Chef project was launched back in 2019.

Lindsey wasn't troubled by the 84km, she's a qualified personal trainer, who launched her own business, Flex Fitness, whilst on furlough.

James' shift patterns made the task slightly more challenging.

"We both put our hearts into it as we were determined that we would reach our targets," says Lindsey. "We chose to run 84k because 84% of people in the hospitality industry have experienced mental health issues1, and because exercise can have a positive impact on anxiety and depression. Running really helps me as it gives me time to sort my head out.

"We are both really proud of what we achieved. It's great when you talk about doing something and then actually see it happen. And we are delighted with what we have raised for such a great cause," she adds.

In thanking James and Lindsey for their support, Kris Hall, Founder of The Burnt Chef Project, says, "I've been working closely within the hospitality industry for around 9 years and have seen first hand the struggles of mental health issues within the trade with both clients and friends.

"Hospitality teams should be able to discuss the state of their mental health and gain support from their peers and employers. It's important that although mental health can't be seen it is regularly discussed and policies reviewed. This should be the new definition of 'badge of honour'."

More information on the charity is available on The Burnt Chef Project website.