Ex PNE reserve to 'turn Twitter purple' in abuse awareness bid

David Lean
David Lean

A former footballer who was sexually abused as a child is hoping a campaign to raise awareness of child abuse will go viral online.

Ex-PNE reserve footballer David Lean, 50, was abused by a figure in the sporting world when he was just 12 years old.

Since waiving his anonymity to talk about his experience, he has raised thousands for organisations that support survivors. In his latest mission, he has launched #purplefriday - a social media awareness campaign that will take place on September 15.

He said: “ It affects so many people, it’s topical at this time.

“ The plan is very simple - it’s free, it’s easy, and available to all, no matter what age or sex.

“It’s not about fundraising or promoting a single charity - it’s just about raising awareness of both sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

“Three children in every single school class statistically will be sexually abused before they are 18. Every major town and city has suffered. These issues ruin the life of so many children

“ The plan is for people to get involved, to show support and to start conversations of this unspoken subject.”

David, who now lives in Lytham, is asking the people of Lancashire to wear or carry purple items on September 15 to show support, and to tweet and upload photos throughout the day.

He added: “ We want to effectively turn Twitter and Facebook purple all day and are looking to trend using #purplefriday across the world.”

The Lancashire sportsman, who did not disclose his ordeal as a child, went on to spend three seasons at Preston North End from 1983 to 1986.

In 2013 he reported the abuse and later waived his anonymity.

He ran the Greater Manchester half marathon for the counselling service that supported him.