A DEVOTED friend will be taking on a mammoth challenge to raise awareness of men’s suicide after his pal tragically took his own life.

Frazer Macdonald, from Linwood, said the sudden death of his friend Marc Rhoddan ‘shocked’ the community back in October when he passed away at his home in Johnstone at the age of 28.

Just two weeks before he died, Marc was chatting to Frazer, a police constable, about wanting to become a cop after previously serving in the Royal Regiment of Scotland. 

The Gazette: Marc Rhoddan Marc Rhoddan

And with many a memory of going to Rangers games with the former soldier, Frazer admitted he never expected to lose such an ‘outgoing’ and ‘happy’ guy to suicide.

Despite his grief, the 27-year-old is now on a mission to complete the Stirling Marathon in April to raise money for men’s mental health charity Brothers in Arms.

And Frazer wants to highlight the fact that, sometimes, the biggest smile hides the deepest pain.

Frazer said: “It was such a huge shock for everyone really. 

“There were so many people at Marc’s funeral. Linwood isn’t a massive place so it really hit the community.

“He was such an outgoing person Marc. He was always laughing, always happy, always making jokes. 

“He was such a likeable guy, but clearly he was suffering in silence.

“I think there’s this perception that when you are with the lads, you can’t tell them that you’re struggling, and it’s a bit tragic to be honest.

“There’s these thoughts that go through your head. Could we have done more? Could we have said something different? 

“I spoke to him just a few weeks before because he wanted to go into the same line of work as me. He wanted to know how he would go about applying to join the police.

“Everyone who knew Marc knows how much he was loved and how he had the most infectious personality. 

“I’ve been inspired to raise awareness of men’s suicide and I wanted to run the marathon in aid of a mental health charity. I chose Brothers in Arms because it’s close to home and is still in its infancy.

“In my work, there’s a lot of pride and I can imagine a lot of my colleagues would not say they were struggling, and it’s this kind of masculine attitude I want to change. We all need to help each other.”

Marc, who was originally from Linwood, left behind his younger brother Dean, his mum Lesley, step dad Gary McPhillie, his partner Clare McMillan and her daughter Lacey, both of whom he lived with in Johnstone.

So far, Frazer has raised more than £850 for Brothers in Arms, with a final target of £1,000 now well in his reach.

On making a donation, Clare said: “Even if this saves one young man’s life, it makes a difference and stops a family’s heartache.  Thank you so much for doing this and raising awareness.”

Marc’s mum Lesley said: “Thank you for doing this in memory of my Marc. This has lifted our hearts no end.”

He said he has been ‘overwhelmed’ with the support everyone has offered.

He added: “I set a goal of raising £1,000 which I honestly though was quite ambitious, but in just three days I had raised more than half my target.

“When you are running and you are seeing these notifications coming through that someone has made a donation, it makes it that bit easier. It’s an amazing feeling.

“The community has been really supportive. I had a donation from my barbers L and E in Bridge Street of £50. They also chopped Marc’s hair. 

“Police Scotland have also been incredible. The Scottish Police Recreational Association has given me £50, and they allowed me the day off work to do the marathon.

“I am really trying to keep on top of having a healthy lifestyle. Last year I ran the Great Scottish Run with my cousin, who was Marc’s friend, and we said at the end we should keep doing this.

“I am by no means a marathon runner but I’m going to work as hard as I can to raise as much awareness and funds as possible. 

The Gazette: Marc Rhoddan with his brother Dean Marc Rhoddan with his brother Dean

“I think this has actually been really good for my mental health and I’m hoping I’ll encourage others to take it up as well.

“I’m currently running about eight miles regularly and I’m just going to keep ramping that up.”

To show your support for Frazer ahead of the run on Sunday,  April 28,  visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/frazer-macdonald-1