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NHS fraud specialist to cycle 400-mile round trip to Paris for NHS charity

An NHS counter fraud specialist is preparing to cycle a gruelling 400-mile round trip from Hayling Island to Paris to raise money for Solent NHS Trust’s charity, as the NHS reaches its 75th birthday.

Colin Edwards, aged 50 and from Portsmouth, decided that now is the time to give back to the NHS after receiving extensive support from Solent NHS Trust for anxiety and for his mental health.

Colin and three friends will set off from Hayling Island on 8 July. They will cycle every day for up to 10 hours, aiming to reach Chartres near Paris on Tuesday 11 July. They will spend just one night there before completing the home leg of their journey, travelling back to Hayling Island Royal British Legion to celebrate.

Colin, who has previously run marathons and helped to raise £5.5K for charity, is hoping that his last three years of riding preparation, including the London Ride 100 , will leave him well prepared for journey. This is despite still recovering from a major infection, having been bitten whilst out on a training ride in the New Forest, which left him in hospital and on crutches.

Colin said: “Taking away my marriage and the birth of my child, this will be the single biggest achievement of my life.”

Colin, who works across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to counter fraud in the NHS, also said his job is a great source of motivation. “I am so grateful for the support of medical professionals who have empowered me and given me the strength to take on this challenge,” he said.

“My colleagues at work have also inspired me to take up this challenge, and I have nothing but gratitude for them and my family. The money raised will go to Solent NHS Trust Charity, supporting the wellbeing of patients using mental health services and the NHS colleagues supporting them.”

The Solent NHS Trust Charity, fund wellbeing initiatives for patients in the community and in hospital, who would benefit from additional wellbeing support. This can be something as simple as a wash kit whilst staying in hospital or something more substantial, such as community group support for young people’s mental health.

Funds have also been spent in support of the wellbeing gardens at St. Mary’s Community Health Campus and St. James Hospital in Portsmouth and the Western Community Hospital in Southampton.

Debbie James, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Solent NHs Trust, said: “The benefit of charitable funds cannot be underestimated.

“Often the funds enable us to add to our services with items that are essential for wellbeing but not covered by NHS funding, such as a simple wash bag and self- care kit. Colin is undertaking a huge challenge to benefit our patients and colleagues and we are incredibly grateful to home for his endeavour.”

Solent NHS Trust will be sharing Colin’s journey in real time on social media and colleagues are looking forward to welcoming him back to England on Friday 15 July. To support Colin’s efforts to raise money for Solent NHS Trust Charity, click here. 

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