Welwyn Garden City cyclist raises £40,000 to help make people Rethink mental illness

PUBLISHED: 14:04 14 August 2013 | UPDATED: 09:12 16 August 2013

The team on their last day in the mountains of Spain near Ronda heading for Gibraltar

The team on their last day in the mountains of Spain near Ronda heading for Gibraltar

Archant

A DAD-OF-TWO from Welwyn Garden City and his nine-strong team returned to the UK after cycling 1,800 miles across two continents and raising £40,000.

Ben Thompson at Castres to the very top of Col De Pailheres, in the PyreneesBen Thompson at Castres to the very top of Col De Pailheres, in the Pyrenees

Ben Thompson, 43, and his team started their challenge in London and finished it 16 days later in the Moroccan city of Tangier.

The team, which at its fullest included 10 people, cycled more than 100 miles a day in scorching heat, in aid of charity Rethink Mental Illness.

They also climbed some of Europe’s highest peaks, including the Col De Pailheres in the French Pyrenees, which stands at 6,565ft.

Ben, who has a brother with schizophrenia, is keen to raise awareness of mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

He said: “This was a very demanding challenge.

“On one of the hardest days we cycled 106 miles in 106 degrees Fahrenheit, but it was all for a very worthy cause.”

He added: “The pain of people with a mental illness often goes unrecognised and unsupported.

“If someone has a broken leg, it is obvious what their pain might be.

“But all too often those 
with mental illness do so in silence and alone.

“We’re delighted with the 
level of support we have received and hope we have raised awareness of the difficulties people with a mental illness can face.”

Paul Jenkins, chief executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “We’re delighted with Ben and his team’s efforts to raise money 
and awareness for this important issue.

“Severe mental illness can be devastating but Rethink Mental Illness is there to make a difference through offering information, advice and peer support. We also campaign for better services.”

He added: “As a charity, we are lucky to have so many dedicated supporters, like Ben and his team, who push themselves to the limit to raise money for us.”

The team’s riders have already raised more than £40,000, surpassing their original target of £25,000.


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