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Victoria Pendleton honours Edinburgh sport hero

21st Hydref 2021

Former Olympic champion, Victoria Pendleton, has honoured an inspirational Edinburgh hero, who ran over 280km to raise funds for mental health charities, with a National Lottery Award in recognition of his incredible work.

Chris Sellar, National Lottery Awards Sport winner 2021

The multiple times World Champion cyclist presented Chris Sellar with his prize today after it was announced he had won the Sport hero award in the 2021 National Lottery Awards.

The National Lottery Awards celebrate the inspirational people and organisations across the UK who have done extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.

Sports development professional Chris, 30, lost his mum to suicide in January 2020 a short while after his dad passed away from cancer. Sport had always been a big feature in Chris’ life and so he turned to running as a way of helping him stay positive and process his emotions in this difficult period.

In January this year, to mark a year since losing his mum, Chris pledged to run 10km a day for 28 days - the equivalent of six and a half marathons over the course of his challenge with donations going to Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS). SOBS is funded by The National Lottery and has supported Chris during the last year. He raised more than £20,000 through his efforts.

The father-of-one said: “It has been an incredibly tough time for me and my family. My mum had battled with poor mental health almost the full duration that my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2018. Since mum’s passing, we have processed our loss in many ways and, for me, running has been a hugely important outlet.

“Doing the 10k 28-day challenge was a way of raising awareness not only of the benefit of sport for mental health but also of the brilliant charities that have supported me and my family.

“I think it’s so important to talk openly about mental health and suicide to potentially help others and reduce some of the stigma around these topics.”

Chris, a former member of The National Lottery-funded sportscotland Young People’s Sports Panel, continued: “It is a great honour to win a National Lottery Award and receive this recognition. I am keen to let people know that there is a way through the most difficult of times by looking after your own mental health and there is support out there in whatever way someone might need it.”

Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the UK every week and in the last financial year alone over £395million has been invested in sport from grassroots through to elite.

Former National Lottery-funded athlete, Victoria Pendleton, travelled to Edinburgh to present Chris with his National Lottery Award.

Victoria said: “I have always been a strong believer that physical and mental health go hand in hand. I know myself how important sport is in dealing with the stresses that life throws at us.

“Chris is an outstanding example of harnessing the power of exercise to boost wellbeing. It’s a great honour to give Chris this trophy for The National Lottery Awards Sport hero. I hope his story inspires more people to think about physical activity as a way of keeping their mental health in-check.”

As a recipient of a National Lottery Award, Chris, will receive a £3,000 cash prize to donate to a charity of his choice and a National Lottery Awards trophy.