TWO schoolfriends who were reunited after 21 years have teamed up to raise awareness about domestic abuse.

Rosie Diamantopoulo and Xeni Milonas, both 39, were pupils at Cardinal Newman school in Hove, and had not seen each other since leaving until this summer.

Xeni, of Belfast Street, Hove, said: “We had each other on social media, and I saw a ring on Rosie’s jewellery website.

“I’d had a difficult year and thought I would treat myself, and we decided to meet up for a coffee.”

The pair soon discovered they had endured similarly bad experiences over the years in abusive relationships, and they wanted to do something to raise awareness of the issue.

Having started running together, they quickly decided to take on the Athens marathon to raise money for Tender, a charity which educates young people about domestic abuse and promotes healthy relationships.

Jewellery designer Rosie, of Bellevue Gardens, Brighton, said: “Education is key – it’s absolutely crucial and schools have limited funding.

“It’s about teaching children to have healthy, respectful relationships.

“Most violence is at home, and it’s often learned behaviour.”

Rosie said Tender currently does workshops in schools in London and northern cities but not in the South of England, so she and Xeni are raising money to fund some sessions in Sussex – starting at their old school.

They hope to raise at least £4,400, which is the cost of two workshops, and they are keen to raise awareness.

Rosie said: “We are still behind the times with domestic abuse and domestic violence.

“People don’t talk about it, and I think that’s the biggest flaw in our culture.

“We’d like to get workshops in more schools after Cardinal Newman.”

Xeni said Tender uses theatre to teach children about violence prevention and how to spot all forms of domestic abuse.

Rosie said: “This is why we really love this charity – they are teaching the kids in a stimulating way.”

According to the charity, young people aged between 16 and 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing domestic abuse.

Xeni and Rosie began a gruelling training programme back in July, and will be running the marathon in Athens next Sunday, November 10.

Rosie said her aim after the marathon is to get education on this subject to be made mandatory in schools.

She said: “It’s such a massive issue, and it’s massively overlooked.”

To donate, go to Rosie and Xeni's GoFundMe page.