Siblings feel the burn

A brother and sister working at The Thatch in Thame have completed an 84k running challenge to raise more than £4,000 for The Burnt Chef Project.

Thatch head chef James Durrant and Lindsey Hobbs, who controls marketing for the pub, donned running shoes to raise cash for the charity. It was set up in 2019 aiming to eradicate mental health stigma within the hospitality industry.

The pair (pictured) were inspired to support The Burnt Chef having both suffered from anxiety and because the hospitality industry is one that is close to their hearts. 

Both were keen to get involved not only to raise money but also to encourage colleagues to talk to each other about mental health and to be open if they are struggling.

They set themselves the goal of running 84k in six weeks, with a tough training programme.  They also enlisted the support of the pub’s owner Peach, which agreed to donate 25p from every main course sold from the pubs’ specials boards between 17 May and 30 June.

James said: ‘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.

‘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.

‘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.’

Lindsey took easily to the training required, having run two or three times a week for the past 10 years, qualifying as a personal trainer and setting up her business Flex Fitness to help others achieve their own goals.

James’ shift patterns when back at work made things slightly more tricky but both tackled the challenge head-on.

Lindsey said: ‘We both put our hearts into it as we were determined that we would reach our targets.

‘We chose to run 84k because 84% of people in the hospitality industry have experienced mental health issues 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.’.

Thanking James and Lindsey for support, Kris Hall, founder of The Burnt Chef Project, said: ‘I’ve been working closely within the hospitality industry for around nine 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.’

The Thatch is at 29-30 Lower High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 2AA. 
[email protected] 
Tel: 01844 214340