Ben Thompson, managing director of Legal & General Mortgage Club will start a 1,800 mile charity bike ride from London to Tangiers, Morocco on 16 June for national charity Rethink Mental Illness.
The 17-day challenge will be taken on by an 10-strong team that will aim to cycle over 100 miles a day and scale some of Europe’s highest peaks in the process, the largest of which will be Col De Pailheres a 6,565ft peak in the French Pyrenees.
The aim is to raise £40,000 to support the work Rethink Mental Illness does to provide information, advice, peer support and better services to those affected by mental illness.
The mortgage industry has also thrown its weight behind the event. Charles Morley from Investec is taking part in the challenge, and Investec has kindly agreed to be primary sponsor, with other Legal & General Mortgage Club members and lenders pledging support too.
Thompson said: “Our aim is to raise awareness of the difficulties people with mental illness face and raise funds to help Rethink Mental Illness provide a greater level of support. The pain sufferers endure often isn’t recognised and all too often people are not adequately supported. If someone has a broken leg it’s obvious where their pain might be. However, its can be less apparent for those that are afflicted with mental illness and sadly many have to suffer in silence and alone. This is something that is very close to my heart and although it will be a hugely demanding challenge it couldn’t be for a more worthy cause.
“That is why it’s so pleasing that the likes of Investec and many other Legal & General Mortgage Club members and lenders are sponsoring our efforts. It’s great to see the mortgage industry coming together to help tackle the issue of mental illness.”
Alastair Campbell, ambassador for the Time to Change campaign and supporter of the event, said: “As an ambassador for the Time to Change campaign I am pleased that Legal & General as well as leading names in the mortgage industry are coming together to support mental health services like this. And as a cyclist I am jealous of the sense of achievement they will get at the end of such an amazing ride. Many who suffer from mental illness often do so in silence and with little if any support. My hope is that the funds and awareness raised from Ben’s ride to Africa go some way towards improving treatment for some and understanding for many.”
Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “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.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 fundraising page can be found at www.justgiving.com/TOURDE4