A GROUP of friends who turned to each other for support after a friend killed himself have raised more than £19,000 for annual men's health campaign Movember over the past four years.

The Mostafas, who started with just one member in 2016, now have 16 fundraisers, and celebrated the massive sum with a party last week.

One of the group's members, Robert Theobald, 33, from Caldicot, said the group had been an invaluable source of support after friend Wesley Hale killed himself in 2012. He was 26.


“Wes and I were good pals at school,” Mr Theobald said. “We often met for a drink and he was part of a wider group of friends who liked a laugh. I know it’s a cliché, but he really was the life and soul of the party. You could guarantee he would always make you laugh. He was just a really caring guy. It was a huge shock when I received the news.

“I remember talking to him close to his 26th birthday and telling him I’d go for a drink with him to celebrate. I never did and that stuck with me for a long time. I remember after I heard about it (Wesley's death) just staring at a wall for ages and punching it repeatedly. I just didn’t know how to deal with those emotions, and I felt helpless.”

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Robert Theobald during his speech to the crowd at Severn View Club. Picture: LJ Photography - Leon Jenkins

“I’ve seen the repercussions of what we all went through at that time,” Mr Theobald added. “Quite a few of us knew Wes, and I think knowing his struggle has motivated us. We haven’t been as open with our feelings as perhaps we should have been in the past, but now we can be.”

He said it was the support of his friends which helped him deal with his feelings

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Wesley Hale

It is that pack mentality that has meant the Mostafas have raised £19,092 since Mr Theobald started the group three years ago.

“I was raising money here and there by myself for a few years,” he recalled. “Then we were down the pub one evening and I told a few pals I was going to start doing Movember.

“Each year it has grown a little bit more, and we now have 16 in the group. One lady recently lost her husband to cancer, and a couple of the guys have had mental health issues after leaving the army. I’d like to feel we’ve turned everyone’s terrible feelings into a positive. With each person’s experience we’ve grown stronger with a new perspective.”

This Movember’s efforts include climbing Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan in 17 hours, and Saturday’s event brought in an extra £1,000 for the group. But Mr Theobald says it isn’t really about fundraising.

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Robert Theobald started the campaign in 2016 after losing his friend to suicide. Picture: LJ Photography - Leon Jenkins

“The parties we have aren’t to ask for money," he said. "They’re to say thank you to everyone who works hard for the cause. To have raised £19,000 since 2016 is not something I ever envisaged.”

This year’s party, held at the Severn View Club in Caldicot, sold out for the first time selling 240 tickets, and the month’s takings are over £6,000, which is the most they’ve ever received in a single month.

“Everything regarding mental health awareness is getting a push lately,” Robert said. “And that is reflected in the money we’ve collected and the numbers at the event.

“People want to come and talk about their issues. Most weekends among our group we will sit and talk through our problems, and we often get older people doing the same. I regularly get older men saying they’ve kept things in too long, and two minutes later we’re in tears and having a hug. I think that’s great.”