Abuse victim takes steps to help service

Ex-footballer David Lean
Ex-footballer David Lean

A sexual abuse victim is hoping to turn his traumatic experience into something positive as he tries to raise much-needed funds for a counselling service that supported him in his darkest hour.

Former footballer David Lean, 49, was supported by the Rennaisance team – which supports victims of sexual abuse – at Drugline Lancashire, after revealing the child abuse he suffered at the hands of a football coach more than 30 years ago.

It allowed me to open up to very sensitive issues that I was unable to do with anyone else

David, from Lytham, who waived his anonymity to speak out about his ordeal, has entered the Greater Manchester Marathon on April 2 with his friend Jonas Bartle to raise cash for Renaissance, and the donations will be ring-fenced to specifically help other victims of sexual abuse.

He was just 11 when he met his abuser on a family trip to a holiday camp in Wales. David, who played reserve football for Preston North End, said: “The counselling service made a huge difference to my life.

“It allowed me to open up to very sensitive issues that I was unable to do with anyone else, and allowed me to speak about issues I had hidden for almost 33 years.

“The staff are very supportive and caring and helped me understand it wasn’t my fault.”

At first dad-of-two David, who recently got married, was told no charges would be laid against his abuser – but the decision was eventually overturned and he was sentenced to two years’ in prison in 2015.

A charity spokesman said: “We are extremely grateful and proud that David, someone who the service has supported is able to take part in an event as challenging and life changing as a marathon and that he wants to do this to fund-raise specifically to keep the counselling service going, the monies he raises will no doubt go on to support many survivors. We wish him all the luck with his training and we will be cheering for him on the day.”

Helping hand for those in need

Drugline – Lancashire was established in 1986 with support from NCH Action for Children. In 1993 the service gained independent charity status. The service then continued to offer a range of substance misuse projects for adults, young people and their families across Lancashire for over 28 years.

The service in 2006 re branded its growing sexual health working under the SHIVER (Sexual Health HIV Education and Responses) banner. From April 2011 the service diversified its activities and changed its name to Renaissance at Drugline.