Cyclists shift gears to raise funds for Samaritans in Prudential RideLondon

120 Samaritans cyclists are pedalling into the final stages of training for this year’s Prudential RideLondon race on Sunday 29 July.

The team will cover the gruelling 100-mile race to help Samaritans fund its round the clock service, which is there every day of the year for people who are struggling to cope. All riders are in for a challenge, taking on the roads out of London, through the Surrey Hills and back to finish on The Mall.

Amongst the riders who will be donning their lycra and smearing on the sun cream will be will be Jo Haining, a GP from Swindon. Jo has overcome several injuries during training, but despite this, is still on track to take on RideLondon.

She explains: “I broke both my hands when I fell off my bike a few months ago and I couldn't do much for eight weeks. I then broke my toe on an indoor cycling trainer. Cycling with a broken toe wasn't a great experience but I wasn't willing to give up on my training.”

Through Jo’s work as a GP, she has seen the difference the service makes to people who are feeling fragile. “I’m doing this cycle ride for Samaritans, as I wanted to raise awareness of where people can get help. I feel it’s important to support Samaritans because mental health problems can happen at any time and no other charity offers the same support to people 24/7 365 days of the year.”

One man who is up for the cycle challenge is Matt Bennett from Gloucester. Matt, who is chairman of the Gloucester Roundtable, is new to exercise after making a promise to his late mother to lose weight, before she passed away in 2015.

He said: “Since the promise to mum, I have done 10K runs, half marathons, an iron man and now RideLondon 2018. Not bad for a lad that was over 22 stone who didn’t exercise at all just three years ago. Exercise and doing these challenges has allowed me to channel my grief following my mum's death.”

Jen Offord from Hackney is cycling in memory of her late brother Stephen. She said: “I think the greatest tribute I can pay to my brother Stephen, is to achieve the happiness that he couldn’t find. The work that Samaritans does is vital and provides a space for people going through a difficult time to talk through their problems and find their way forward.”

Samaritans relies almost entirely on voluntary donations. The money raised by its riders in the Prudential RideLondon will help the charity to be there for anyone who needs to talk, in confidence, about anything that’s bothering them - by phone, email, text, letter, or face to face in one of its branches across the UK and Ireland.

Emma Sutehall, Events Fundraising Manager at Samaritans, said: “We wish all our cyclists the best of luck and will be cheering them on through London and Surrey, right to the spectacular finish on The Mall. We’re extremely grateful for their support – they are helping to ensure that our service is always there for people. Offering a safe space for people to work through their problems, can save lives.”  

Samaritans has hundreds of cyclists, runners and swimmers taking on challenges across the UK. For more information or to get involved, please visit www.samaritans.org.

To sponsor Jo visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamgnometoast

To sponsor Matt visit : https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MatthewBennettironride

To sponsor Jen visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/inspireajen

Ends

For more information, photos and interview requests, please contact Samaritans on 020 8394 8300 or press@samaritans.org.

Notes to editors

  • Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on your phone bill. Or email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
  • Samaritans responds to more than 5 million calls for help a year.
  • Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope.  Your money or your time could save a life. Find out how you can support us: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us