To join Katie and Sophie on the start line on Sunday, 20 May, visit greatrun.org/manchester to sign up.

THE TWO daughters of a former Manchester United footballer who committed suicide will take part in the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run to raise money for a mental health charity.

Katie and Sophie Davies will take on the half marathon on Sunday, May 20 for Mind, the mental health charity, in honour of their father, Alan Davies, who took his own life in 1992.

Alan, a Wales international, made ten appearances for his hometown club, setting up two of Bryan Robson's goals in the 4-0 FA Cup Final replay victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in 1983, before spells at Newcastle United and Bradford City. He had two stints at Swansea City and it was while there, in 1992, where he committed suicide, shortly after dropping Katie off at school.

Tragically, his death came six weeks before Sophie was born, while Katie was just four years old at the time.

Alan’s widow, Deborah, has ensured Katie and Sophie were brought up with only good memories of their father, and the pair – aged 30 and 25 respectively – are in training for their first half marathon to raise money for Mind, with the ambition that more men seek help with depression.

Katie said: “It’s a cause that we both feel very strongly about. Now, people talk about their feelings more but back in the day, no one ever did, especially guys. I think that’s quite apparent recently. More and more people are talking about their feelings.

“Sophie never met our dad but she’s the one who is really positive about it. It is sad, but we try to think of the positives because there’s no point dwelling on the past.

“You have to move forward. He didn’t confide in anyone, but that was the norm in those days I suppose.”

Katie and Sophie, who both live in Manchester, took part in last year’s Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run 10K, and the sisters wanted to take on a greater challenge – so signed up for the 13.1mile event which starts on Portland Street and goes past Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium.

Katie added: “Last year’s event was my first 10K. I’d never done anything like it before, I wasn’t very fit and I just wanted to do it. I didn’t train that much but I think I did it in a good time.

“We’re looking forward to it but we need to do some more training.

“It was brilliant last year, I loved it. If there weren’t as many people showing their support as there was I don’t think I’d have finished it. I stopped once during the run and people were cheering me on. I think it’s a really good atmosphere.

“With it being just after the bombing, the event felt quite special. If anything bad happens in the city, it has a community feel, people come together. It’s a great city.”

To join Katie and Sophie on the start line on Sunday, 20 May, visit greatrun.org/manchester to sign up.