It’s 10am, October 1st, 2016, and 23-year-old actor Fionnlagh McFarlane is standing outside a Wetherspoon pub in Canary Wharf. He and dozen or so others are about to embark on a ten-mile walk across central London. With breaks, the route to Hammersmith station is expected to last five hours. Standing alongside McFarlane in the rain is Alex Morgan, 26. He is the reason they’re walking. His charity’s name, Stay Brave UK, is emblazoned in luminous green across the white T-shirts the everyone is wearing.
The walk is intended to symbolise the arduous journey those who’ve experience sexual assault and domestic violence go through. It will also raise funds for the charity, which exists to help male survivors.
McFarlane has raised £300 for taking part. He’d been encouraged to join the walk by Morgan, who he had recently met through a mutual friend. To those around him McFarlane’s participation looks ordinary – one friend helping another. But his friendship with Morgan is built, in part, on shared experiences. As they set off, Morgan was the only one who recognised the deeper emotional investment McFarlane had in finishing the hike.