WHEN Jordan Paterson moved to the Netherlands from Stevenston six years ago, he described it as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

And after moving at the age of 19, it is fair to say the now 25-year-old has grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

Having immersed himself in his new homeland, he is looking to give a little back with a monumental charity effort.

Jordan is to run an ultramarathon in September this year, in a bid to raise funds for a national mental health charity.

The run, which won't be his first fundraiser, is one which has been inspired in parts by his own journey, which began in Stevenston.

Jordan was raised in the town, attending Ardeer Primary School and then Auchenharvie Academy.

He left secondary school at around 16-years-old to work with Ardrossan Academicals RFC as a modern apprentice via Scottish Rugby and North Ayrshire Council, where he worked alongside the club's development officer Andrew Duncan.

Jordan was a popular figure at the club and in his role, where he visited a number of school across the county.

In 2017 he made a life-changing decision when an opportunity came his way.

Jordan explained: "In 2017 I had the opportunity to move over to the Netherlands to play rugby for a year with a club called Tovaal in a province called Zeeland.

"The club were trying to get promoted at the time with the then head coach, Brian Hendry, who was looking to give young players a chance to play rugby abroad life experience - I would say ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity’.

"It came at the perfect time as life in general wasn’t going so well at that time for me so I grabbed it with both hands with no looking back.

"I left a few days after my 19th and in our first year we got the promotion and almost sealed promotion in my second year."

From then, Jordan's one-year move had become his new life, as he stayed in Zeeland for four years.

He then moved further north in the country to play with a club called the Bassets for a year - before moving to his current side Diok Rugby Club.

Jordan added: "I've been here for just over six years now and looking back, I’m extremely grateful to Brian that I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity to move here."

Jordan now works as a full-time carpenter in the Netherlands, and is delighted to be able to give back, through charitable efforts, to a country which has supported him greatly.

His upcoming ultramarathon will be his second, with his running exploits beginning back in January 2021.

Jordan said: "I started fundraising for a charity called ‘113 Zelfmoord Preventie’ which is the national foundation for suicide prevention here in the Netherlands.

"During the corona period which was a dark time for a lot of people affecting pretty much everyone I would say.

"I wanted to do something good for the world to raise awareness for mental health to help give a voice to those who suffer in silence.

"I took up running and I thought 'let's run a marathon for charity'. The original plan was to raise €500 but that goal was reached fairly quickly. In a way to keep it interesting I added an extra kilometre for every €100 over the goal.

"In the end i think we raised together €2,945 so I ran 60km in six hours. With three weeks of preparation I was pretty proud of that."

His latest effort has been inspired by this first challenge, as he looks to do more, and continue to give back.

Jordan told the Herald: "After I finished the 60km I wanted to do more. Over the past two years I’ve been moving around a so it was hard to get settled but now I've found my footing.

"I want to go again, this time running 120km from my current club Diok to my old club in Zeeland Tovaal, which for me is a place where it all started where I was given a chance to make something of myself.

"Inspiration wise, I guess raising money for charities that provide support and assessable information to everyone who struggles with mental health or addiction.

"In a way I look at it like these runs have a start and a finish but mental health doesn’t stop for anyone i think it’s a constant battle and it’s essential that services like these become more and more assessable.

"Having a safe place for people to open up and not be judged is extremely important."

Jordan's latest run will be for MIND, an independent social organisation that advocates for a psychologically healthier Netherlands and gives a voice to all people with (early) psychological complaints and their loved ones.

He commented: "I have chosen this charity because it’s a charity that is committed to psychologically healthier Netherlands.

"It’s a platform that helps gives a voice to all people who struggle with mental health. they fight for better treatment,support, greater understanding and respect.

"I think at the end of the run very sore and tired legs. I don’t have much to gain but I hope by sharing my story that it’ll inspire others."

For more information on jordan's latest run, and to make a donation, visit tinyurl.com/JordanPatersonRun.