THE CHARITY of a family who lost a daughter and her father to suicide within eight months welcomed a very special guest to their fundraiser.

Team GB hockey player Anna Toman, who took bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, took a training session at Clitheroe and Blackburn Northern Hockey Club on Wednesday and posed for hundreds of pictures with club members and around 60 children and 50 adults - raising £850 for Bags For Strife.

The initiative Bags For Strife, set up by Angela Allen and her family, aims to support families that suffer the devastating loss of a loved one who has taken their own life.

Angela and her husband Damian, who lived in Blackburn before tragedy struck after moving to Waddington, lost their 23-year-old daughter, Katrina Fell, to suicide in November 2019. Damian took his own life eight months later.

Anna, who Angela described as 'like a niece', was affected by the suicides of Katrina and Damian, as well as a friend of her father’s. Describing Bags For Strife as ‘close to my heart’, she had been longing for the chance to be able to help raise funds for the charity again.

Anna said: “I am so glad to have finally been able to play my part and help raise money for such a wonderful cause.

“It’s been a very busy year for me, leading up to the Olympics in the summer, so it’s been great over the past month to take a step back from international hockey.

“I have always enjoyed going into clubs and seeing youngsters enjoying their hockey, so it was a privilege to travel up North and get involved, while also raising money for a charity very close to my heart.”

Angela, who is club member, said: “Anna is like a niece to me, I’ve been best friends with her mum for years. The family have been supporting our charity for a long time and the event on Wednesday was fabulous.

“She was incredible, all the kids, and adults, who wanted a picture with her got one - she must have taken hundreds in the end!

“I reckon her trip up to Blackburn might have superceded her trip to Tokyo, but you’d have to ask her about that!”