THE wife of an amateur rugby league player who died last year is helping a cause close to her heart.

Stephen Cleworth, who played as a full back for Leigh Miners Rangers and Leigh East ARLFC, died last September after taking his own life at the age of 44.

His wife Suzanne is now set to complete a Tough Mudder event after teaming up with a former gym friend, Kieran Jones, who came close to contemplating suicide earlier this year.

Kieran, 39, decided to sign for a Tough Mudder obstacle course event in September with proceeds going to mental health charity Mind.

After speaking to Kieran, Suzanne decided to join forces with him, which will help to raise more awareness of mental health illnesses.

Leigh Journal:

Kieran, before and after losing two stone in training for the Tough Mudder event

And now around 65 people who know the pair are joining them in the challenge.

Suzanne, 40, said: “It is good to have so many people on board with this event.

"I suffered with depression after Stephen died and ended up at Atherleigh Park hospital after being referred from the doctors and I'm now suffering from anxiety.

"I have a long way to go but training for Tough Mudder is helping with my recovery.

“I think there needs to be a bigger awareness of mental health starting with schools.

"No-one should have to suffer because of mental health.”

Leigh Journal:

Stephen in action for Leigh Miners Rangers Masters

Suzanne’s and Stephen’s son Will, 15, who will be taking part in the obstacle course event, has had counselling in school since his dad died.

“The counselling Will has had in school has really helped, it’s changed him as a young man”, Suzanne said.

“He talks more to me if he is a bit down.

"We talk about Stephen and we look at pictures of him. It is part of our life.”

Dad-of-two Kieran, from Bamfurlong, suffered with PTSD, depression and anxiety.

He has lost two stone since training for the event.

Kieran has also been in discussion with gyms over holding classes for people who suffer with their mental health, which can help them share their experiences.

He said: "I feel on top of the world and knowing that this event has helped so many people. I’m so happy. 

"I am humble in the support we have had and the kind comments.

" Suzanne is an amazing woman - a true inspiration.

"My three friends David Dandy, Sean Whitter and Nicky Kay have supported me for years and it was them who made me fight my mental health and start this challenge.

"I would also like to thank my family."

Centurions player Micky Higham, owner of TRY Fitness in Leigh, is also giving the team two free gym sessions a week leading up to the Tough Mudder event.

Leigh East ARLFC and Leigh Miners Rangers also held a memorial match recently for all age groups in memory of former players who took their own lives, including Stephen.

Training is well underway for Suzanne now, who has completed similar events such as Born Survivor and Mens Health Survival of the Fittest.

To donate to the crowdfunding page click here.