MALTON Veterans Football Club has raised £1,500 to support local mental health charity Next Steps.

A charity seven-a-side tournament held last month attracted 12 teams from across the north of England, raising the funds which will be spent to support men’s mental health.

Steve Mason, from Great Habton, organised the event in tribute to a close friend who committed suicide in 2018 and in a bid to raise awareness of the issue.

Next Steps, which is based in Norton, supports people living with a variety of mental health problems and runs some specific services aimed at men.

Leisa Burniston, service manager at Next Steps, said: “We would like to thank the Malton Veterans and everyone who has donated to raise such a fantastic amount.

“Men’s mental health is a big, but often neglected issue as many men feel uncomfortable talking about the subject.

“As a charity, Next Steps tackles male mental health issues by providing Men in Sheds groups, where men come together have a joke, laugh and talk while making things and much more.

“This group has proved to be very popular with over 45 men and volunteers attending across Ryedale and has improved their mental health and wellbeing immensely.”

Steve said: “This is an issue close to my heart and became part of my life last year when a close friend of 30 years took his life. We don’t know why and to this day all around him wish everyone was better informed on spotting potential mental health problems or signals that an individual is feeling suicidal.

“Malton Veterans FC was established in 2014 to give an opportunity for those players who want to continue playing football without getting the run around by younger players.

“We have been raising money for over five years for various causes and this year decided to focus on men’s mental health and support Next Steps. I would like to personally thank everyone who took part in the tournament and donated to the charity appeal. I would also like to thank Malton Sports Centre staff for their support.”