CHICHESTER College students and staff put their minds to pedalling on Friday (March 6) to help shine a light on good mental health.
Tom Walters and his friend Morgan Calton are riding from Vietnam to Singapore this month.
Tom, who works at Chichester College, cycled 100 miles at the college, along with another member of staff Colin Hunwick and several students.
Both Colin and I found the cycling tough going but after Colin stopped after a hugely admirable 60 miles I did find the last ten miles utterly painful, especially given the fact we did it under a huge heater,” said Tom.
“However, as well as the cycling we were very pleased that students took such a huge interest in what we were doing and really connected with the issues that we were promoting.”
Tom and his companions were raising money for the mental health charity Mind.
In just two weeks Tom will leave the UK with his friend Morgan Calton and head to Hanoi, from which they will cycle 100 miles every day for 22 days solid to reach Singapore.
Tom said Friday was vital to help show people why they were undertaking such a huge challenge.
“It is reported that in the UK, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety affect one in four people every year and so it is vitally important that events such as this, where staff and students can come and look through literature and talk to the participants, that it gives people the right information to seek help if they need it,” he said.
The event tried to replicate a normal day’s riding for Tom with average temperatures of 34°C and 90 per cent humidity.
It is reported that in the UK, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety affect one in four people every yearTom Walters
Starting at 8.30am in the front reception, Colin and Tom were greeted by surprised but interested students on the way to their lessons, most of whom stopped to give any spare change they had into the charity buckets provided.
By 11am the challengers moved into Coasters, the main canteen, and managed to cover almost 50 miles.
During this time the cyclists were joined by students from areas all over the college as well as other members of staff who decided to spend their break on a bike.
Even college principal Shelagh Legrave took part, cycling ten kilometres while chatting to fellow participants.
Speaking after completing her distance, Shelagh said: “Mental Health awareness and the work that charities such as Mind do is such an important cause and so I hope to support this in any way I can.”
By the end of the event, after nearly five hours of continuous cycling, Tom completed 100 miles while being cheered on by the remaining students and staff who were still around after the lunch break.
Read more about Tom and Morgan’s feat and what is driving them to do it by visiting INSPIRATIONS: Overcoming depression with epic exercise.