Weightlifting competition in memory of Danny is hailed a success

Danny Willgoss Memorial Competition Lowestoft

The Danny Willgoss Memorial Competition in Lowestoft was hailed a success. - Credit: Mick Howes

A weightlifting competition held in memory of a popular powerlifter attracted an almost full house of competitors and spectators.

Taking centre stage at the Mammoth Power Gym in Whapload Road, Lowestoft on Sunday, October 10 the event was held in memory of Danny Willgoss.

The much-loved gym owner, who was well known in the community, died at his home in Cambrian Crescent, Oulton, on June 17, 2018.

An inquest into his death last month highlighted "a missed opportunity" to help him as he struggled to cope with severe mental health difficulties.

Since Danny's death, his mother Sue Willgoss has campaigned to raise awareness of men's mental health after launching the #LiftLoudForDanny campaign.

Mrs Willgoss said: “It is the second year we have organised the Danny Willgoss Memorial Competition.

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"The first was two years ago. We run it close to his birthday but this year it is also on World Mental Health Day.”

With the event organised by Jamie, Daniel’s brother, and Katie, Jamie said: “People have travelled from quite a way to compete.

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"There were 45 entrants in the open competition, with people travelling from Cambridge and Kings Lynn to take part.

"It is a ‘push-pull’ competition including a bench lift and a dead lift - so not the usual three lifts.

"There are a lot of amateurs here who have not been in competitions before, and it is a chance for them to have a go at it where it is a bit more relaxed than in a qualifier.

"The rules are still quite strict with proper referees from one of the federations, but we don’t require people to wear singlets as in other events."

He added: "There are different weight categories, four for each sex, and the competition is open to men and women.

"We have 15 female competitors. We use the ‘Wilks formula’ so the winner will be the person who lifts the heaviest in ratio to their body weight and they will receive trophies and medals."

Organisers admitted they were "honoured" to have Olympian and British junior shot put record holder Sophie McKinna, from Great Yarmouth, opening the event.

Mrs Willgoss added: "The competition was supported by Lowestoft Rising and all their entrance fees, less expenses, will go to the ‘Lift Loud For Danny’ charity to raise awareness of mental health and towards the establishment of a local mental health crisis centre.

"Powerlifting and lifting weights releases endorphins and is really helpful to people to improve their well-being.

"A lot of people also get therapy from the gym.”

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