I discovered someone I knew was a sex offender...now I’m raising money for survivors of abuse

Ashley Watts has dyed his hair blue to be more recognisable in his 20 challenges. Picture: SONYA DUN

Ashley Watts has dyed his hair blue to be more recognisable in his 20 challenges. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A man who “struggled to cope” after discovering someone he knew was a sex offender is to take on 20 fitness challenges in 2020 to raise money for survivors of abuse.

Fiona Ellis, founder of Survivors in Transition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fiona Ellis, founder of Survivors in Transition. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Ashley Watts said he became depressed and needed counselling after the person was convicted for possession of 300 indecent images of children in 2017.

The offender was also put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.

Mr Watts, 35, from Chelmondiston, said he wanted to raise money for Survivors in Transition - which supports men and women who experienced sexual abuse in childhood.

The self-employed tradesman said: “It took a good week before it properly hit me and each day I would go over it in my head and I still can’t quite believe it.

Ashley Watts is completing a year of sporting challenges to raise money for Survivors in Transition.

Ashley Watts is completing a year of sporting challenges to raise money for Survivors in Transition. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“I felt really guilty like – how didn’t I know?

“This was someone who had been around my children, they were at my wedding, they were a big part of my life – and I’m not even the victim, that’s what I kept coming back to.”

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The father of two started counselling at the beginning of 2019 after he struggled to cope with the situation and became depressed – shutting himself off from friends and family.

“Talking doesn’t fix the problem”, he added. “But it makes it much easier to deal with if you share.”

Ashley Watts is completing a year of sporting challenges to raise money for Survivors in Transition.

Ashley Watts is completing a year of sporting challenges to raise money for Survivors in Transition. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Fiona Ellis, founder of SiT, said: “This is quite a unique situation of someone to contact us like this and it is something that people don’t really think about.

“Ashley is incredibly brave and it is tremendous what he is doing and his commitment to raising awareness.”

To donate to Mr Watts’ challenges for Survivors In Transition visit his GoFundMe page here.

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