A MUSSELBURGH man has raised more than £2,000 for a mental health charity in memory of two of his best friends who took their own lives.

Steven Thayne, 31, of Stoneybank, ran four miles every four hours for 48 hours in Musselburgh in aid of Mind, which provides information and support to people with mental health problems.

His recent gruelling challenge was inspired by David Goggins, an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete and retired Navy SEAL who began long-distance running to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation which gives college scholarships and grants to the children of fallen special operations soldiers.

This was after several of his friends died in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash in 2005 during Operation Red Wings.

Mr Thayne, who runs his own engineering company ST Connect-Tech, decided to run for Mind during the Covid-19 lockdown and set up a JustGiving page to raise funds.

He wanted to commemorate the lives of his friends, former Hearts FC youth player Steven Slater, who was found dead on March 21, 2014, at the age of 25; and Steven Henderson who died, aged 27, on May 5, 2016.

Steven Slater had joined Hearts in the summer of 2005, playing regularly for the under-19s before leaving in early 2008.

Describing them as “town legends,” Mr Thayne said: “I wanted their legacy to live on.”

He added: “I ran four miles every four hours for 48 hours – totalling 48 miles. I changed my routes between running around The Grove and along the Promenade a few times.

“I would try to keep to the same couple of routes so I was doing a circle back to my home. I didn’t know how I was going manage it with almost no sleep for two days.

“I never really realised before starting it but it was almost two marathons in two days.

“I haven’t even ran a half marathon before but was determined to do it for the boys.”

Mr Thayne and his two friends were pupils at Musselburgh Grammar School together and grew up in the Stoneybank area of the town.

Mr Thayne, along with Steven Slater, played with Heart of Midlothian Football Club pro youth.

They also played for the secondary school and, as players for the East and Midlothian schools’ team, helped to lift the Scottish Cup.

He said: “Our group of very close friends, most of whom grew up with each other in the same scheme, have found it tough losing two of the biggest characters in the group.

“Their families can always know they have got us and are not forgotten. The support I have received online and private donations has been incredible.”

He added: “I feel this charity is extremely important as it has outreach centres locally and its support services are great.

“I wanted to raise money for awareness and to let people know help is a phone call away.”

To donate go to justgiving.com/fundraising/stoneybankdreaming

Supporting comments have been left, including Matt Tulloch: “Great cause. Well done.” And Darryl Coll: “Well done, tough challenge that.”