We are really fortunate that lots of local people raise vital funds to support our front line mental health services in many different ways.
Quite often, fundraisers organise events in memory of a loved one or loved ones; it’s inspiring and touching that so many people are able to find the strength, when they are experiencing such sadness and grief and in some of the most challenging times of their lives, to do something amazing in raising funds to help us to help others.
One recent, stand-out example of this was a group of Stockport-based friends who got together to complete the LDN to MCR #SpeakUpCycle in aid of our services and in memory of loved ones. They raised an incredible £12,000 to support our charity.
As if this campaign wasn’t amazing enough, one of the 12 heroes who completed this feat for us – Dean – has very kindly written an article about the experience:
It was at 10am on the morning of the 1st June 2019, that it all became real.
The LDN2MCR team had gathered, as planned, in the hotel lobby to run through some final mechanical checks, the route plan, and THAT team talk.
One of the group, Steve, took lead as he called each of the riders up individually to collect their custom made Stockport Mind t-shirt, and a LDN to MCR jersey, kindly donated to us by our ride sponsors LW Design & Build and P&P Mather Transport – a rasta-coloured strip serving as a reminder of our part-Jamaican lost brother Shaun, and bearing the names of the three we were to ride in aid of – Shaun T, Shaun and Carl.
Steve spoke of each person’s determination and commitment to dedicating a minimum 150 miles and 12 hours training per week, for six months in the brutal British seasons. But also of what and who we were doing this for.
As family and friends, we shared an extremely emotional moment – all captured and shared to our social media page for our watching “fans” back home.
The time was now.
As we clocked up the miles, the legs tired, the genital regions became sore, and our minds often tried to get the better of us.
When they did, we stopped, regrouped, visited the JustGiving page and gave a round of applause and gratitude as the page crept ever-closer to the elusive £10k mark.
This boost of morale (and a little dirty food) were enough to sit us back in our saddles and to ride on.
We aimed for 14 hours ride time, but over a period of 24 hours, with time to stop at midnight for safety reasons – pot holes and lack of light on country lanes.
But the stops were far from relaxation and laughs. They were meticulously pre-planned refuelling (made possible by our support team from Danebank Flooring), static stretching, mechanical checks, and best of all, an ice bath.
A group of friends thinking we were athletes – the boys above would have been in stitches laughing at how crazy we were!
The route was beautiful, though often we were faced with hills which seemed like they would never end, and we figured that this was a metaphor for what we were riding in aid of – the hills will end, it will get easier, and it will be made easier by us willing one another on.
Just like people’s mental health, and just like the journey for them can be made easier by the help of others around them – most of all family, friends and Stockport Mind.
As we reached our final stop, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre where it all first began on a cold January morning, let’s just say some were in better shape than others. But, to much of all our surprise, the 12 that started the ride were all still in the ride.
Much of the last 30km became about mental preparation for the end, and falling in line with the plans around the ride rather than the physical riding itself. We were joined by friends to help see us over the line, friends to photograph the final leg, and extended friends to lead us over the line in the form of a cluster of vespas and scooters.
As we were taken care of on our last stretch, we got in line in an order we felt was fitting for the occasion, and we rode closer to the SEA of people – over 300 of them, closing off the A6 Manchester Road at the Dog & Partridge finishing point.
We were all in tears, it was an overwhelming feeling to reach the end of our journey into the arms of loved ones and in sight of the team from Stockport Mind as we crossed past the Balloon arch which was kindly set up for us by local business B-for-Balloons.
We all – Dave, Celeste, Alan, Paul, Steve, Dennis, Adam, Anthony, Ash, Leon, Booney and myself Dean – completed the 220 mile (distance) 8,000 feet (elevation) course in less than 24 hours on the clock, and 14 hours on the bike.
And in doing so, we raised £12,000 for our local heroes Stockport Mind.
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend thanks once again to our friends and loved ones for making this happen, to local businesses for their astounding support, to Stockport Mind for your work in our community and for giving us reason to ride, but also to my 11 heroes who joined me on this journey.
Nothing can take the pain away for our losses, as we all know. But through Shaun T, Shaun, Carl and everybody else lost to mental illness in our community, we can pull together and help make a difference.
Here’s to next year 😉