NHS counter fraud specialist conquers gruelling 400-mile round trip to Paris for NHS charity
An NHS worker has conquered a gruelling 400-mile cycle ride from Hayling Island to Chartres, France (near to Paris) and back to raise vital funds for the Solent NHS Trust Charity.
Portsmouth resident Colin Edwards completed the seven-day trip after deciding it was time to give back to the NHS after receiving "exceptional" extensive support from Solent NHS Trust for his anxiety and mental health.
The NHS counter-fraud specialist returned to Hayling Island to rapturous applause and cheering from friends and family on Friday evening (14 July).
Colin said: “It was an amazing experience and I’m incredibly proud to have raised awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing support, as well as raise vital funds to improve patient care for the Solent NHS Charity.
“We rode through the intense heat, the driving rain, aches and pains, but I’m thrilled with our achievements.”
Colin and three friends set off from Portsmouth on Friday 8 July. Their journey took them across the channel from Portsmouth to France where they passed through Ouistreham, Lisieux, Évreux, Chartres, Bayeux and Cherbourg before travelling back and finishing on Hayling Island.
“The trip allowed me to reflect on my own personal mental health journey,” he said.
“There were times over the last few years when being outside was incredibly difficult for me, leaving me paralysed with anxiety. It was something that came out of nowhere and left me in the foetal position on a number of occasions.
“But through the exceptional help and support I’ve received from Solent NHS Trust’s mental health teams it’s allowed me to get to this point where I can now get outside and push boundaries. It is something that I could only have done with the right support and the right people around me.”
Colin, who has previously run marathons and helped to raise £5.5K for charity, used his vast experience and three years of riding preparation to conquer the challenge.
The Solent NHS Trust Charity funds 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: “We are so proud of Colin’s achievements and the money he continues to raise for the Solent NHS Trust charitable funds.
“The charity fund enables us to add to our services with items that are essential for wellbeing, but not covered by NHS funding, for the benefit of our patients. Well done Colin.”
To support Colin’s efforts to raise money for Solent NHS Trust Charity, visit Colin Edwards is fundraising for Solent NHS Charity (justgiving.com)