"What happened to Russ was tragic and affected us greatly, and when the opportunity came to honour his memory, we thought it was a fantastic idea."
Rob Johnson, teacher at Hutton Rudby Primary
An Institute of Directors (IoD) mental health advocate has backed a local primary school’s efforts to promote emotional resilience programmes in schools, in memory of the late business leader, Russ Devereux.
Russ Devereux passed away suddenly in May last year, and his family have set up a charity with, the support of the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, the Russ Devereux Headlight Project. The project aims to work with children delivering emotional resilience programmes in schools, helping them to cope in later life with stressful situations or crisis.
Three of Mr Devereux’s children are pupils at Hutton Rudby Primary School, which inspired the staff to take part in the challenge, which sees participants scale mountains Snowdon, Scarfell Pike, and Ben Nevis in 24 hours.
Karl Pemberton, Managing Director of Active Chartered Financial Planners and an IoD fellow, is supporting Hutton Rudby Primary School staff, who will be taking on the National Three Peaks challenge on 3 May to raise money for Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, for which Karl is a Trustee.
Karl has supported mental health initiatives in the past, last year climbing Kilimanjaro to raise money for Mind, and is presenting a wellbeing and mental health in the workplace seminar for the IoD at Teesside University in May. Although not taking part in this challenge, he is supporting the team by promoting the event, and encouraging others in the region to donate via the Just Giving page.
Rob Johnson, a teacher at Hutton Rudby Primary School, said: “Russ’s story touched all of us at Hutton Rudby Primary School, as we have all taught the children, and met the family numerous times. What happened to Russ was tragic and affected us greatly, and when the opportunity came to honour his memory, we thought it was a fantastic idea.
“Children are resilient, but they can be deeply affected by incidents of stress and upset. We think the idea of the Russ Devereux Headlight Project, to give young people the tools to deal with the situations life will inevitably throw at us, will do so much good to all the pupils it reaches. I hope our efforts will go some way to making the project a huge success.”
Karl Pemberton said: “Helping others to get access to mental health programmes, such as the one proposed by the Russ Devereux Headlight Project, is everyone’s responsibility. Russ was a friend, and his passing has left a hole in our lives and the community he lived in.
“I whole-heartedly support Team Hutton Rudby, and I’m certain they’ll do a brilliant job raising money and awareness for this worthy cause.”
To donate to the Team Hutton Rudby National Three Peaks Challenge, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamhuttonrudby.