A 26-year-old Romany Gypsy has completed her first ever half-marathon to raise money for a mental health charity.

Bonny Down, from Stanford in the Vale, near Faringdon completed the London Royal Parks Half Marathon to raise money for MIND UK as her family had struggled with their own mental health.

She raised a whopping £6579 for the charity, which was over three times the target she was hoping for.

“Mental health issues have affected my family recently,” said Bonny, breeds and raises Gypsy Cob horses with her family.

“My dad in particular has struggled with it for many years and it’s had a knock-on effect on the rest of the family, we had something happen last year, making the last fifteen months really tough for all of us.”

Bonny described looking for a way to clear her mind during this difficult period and so she took up running.

“To help with my mind and my thoughts I took up running. I’ve always liked running but I’ve never really been fit enough to do it properly, in the last year I took up running more seriously to help with my own mind and clear my head.”

“The London Parks Run coincided with World Mental Health Awareness day on October 10 and I wanted to do something to help. A lot of people suffer with it and they suffer in silence. They don’t talk about it because they think people don’t want to hear it.

“But in reality, there are people out there that can help, and want to.”

“Back in July I set my mind on training and going from smaller runs, and eventually I did the 13.1 miles.”

The route took Bonny through four of the capital’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

Bonny also explained that talking about your own mental health, particularly if you’re struggling was as much of an issue in Romany Gypsy communities as it is anywhere else. But she also added that her heritage has contributed towards some of those issues.

“Yeah, we don’t typically talk about this stuff because you’d be considered weak,

“Being a Romany Gypsy has had an impact on our mental health, I’m proud of who I am but when all you see is people saying negative things about us and our culture, it does have a big impact."

“Because of who we are, we’ve been targeted a few times, there was a sad incident a few years ago that affected me quite a lot.”

“But I didn’t want to do this just for myself, or my community, but for everyone.

“I know how hard it is to go through something like this. It’s good that there are people out there like MIND who can help.

“It makes me feel good that I can do something. It was a really good challenge for me and aside from the money, if I’ve raised enough awareness for one person to go and talk to someone and get help it’ll be worth it.”

“If anyone out there is suffering with their mental health I can only urge you to come forward and ask for help, because help is out there!”

If you'd like to support Boddy following her half-marathon and also support MIND UK, visit her Just Giving link here.