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The Stranger on the Bridge

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University of Chester

Parkgate Road

Binks 107

Chester, England CH1 4BJ

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Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn are award winning mental health campaigners – their journey together began in 2008 when Neil talked Jonny out of taking his own life by jumping from the edge of Waterloo Bridge in London. Jonny had just been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression and was extremely unwell. Neil’s interaction saved his life but the two were soon separated when the police intervened and took Jonny away to be sectioned.

6 years later, in 2014, Jonny launched a campaign on Twitter to find and thank the man who had stopped him taking his own life - #FindMike - it became a global news campaign that reached over 300 million people around the world and was successful in reuniting the 2 strangers within a matter of weeks from the campaign being launched.

What followed was an emotional meeting and the beginning of a journey where both men united to campaign around the issues of both mental health and suicide, which is now the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

The story of their journey was made into a TV documentary, The Stranger on the Bridge, which aired on Channel 4 in 2015 and had a meaningful impact on millions of viewers.

The documentary has won a number of awards and is currently being aired internationally.

After a private meeting with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in March 2016, the pair were invited by the Royal Foundation to represent the ‘Heads Together’ charity in running for the 2017 London Marathon.

Neil and Jonny have presented their story in a number of different organisations all over the UK and internationally and we are so lucky that they will form part of the festival 2018, showing there really are no limits to kindness, compassion and turning very difficult times into a very positive future.

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University of Chester

Parkgate Road

Binks 107

Chester, England CH1 4BJ

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