Norwich City stars salute ‘amazing’ cycling fundraiser
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
A dedicated cyclist has been saluted by two of Norwich City’s star men for his herculean fundraising efforts.
Matt Colley received a certificate from Canaries players Alex Tettey and Christoph Zimmermann after raising more than £3,700 for grassroots organisations working with children and young people in Norfolk.
The recognition comes after he took part in the ‘Walk 500 Miles’ challenge set by former North Norfolk MP, Sir Norman Lamb, and Norfolk Community Foundation.
Those taking part - including Sir Norman - walked, ran and cycled throughout August, raising more than £18,000 for the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund.
And on Monday (September 28), Mr Colley - the person to raise the most money - was left pinching himself as he met two of his icons at The Willow Centre in Cringleford.
“During lockdown my mental health had been suffering and I was in quite a low place,” said Mr Colley, who pedalled 640 miles. “I tried bike-riding and felt really good, and then I read about Sir Norman’s challenge.
“I’ve suffered with mental problems throughout my whole adult life and thought ‘why not give this a go?’
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“It’s vital to talk about mental health. Raising awareness is about encouraging people to be open, but also helping identify people who are struggling.”
Canaries’ centre-back Zimmerman said he was “astonished” by Mr Colley’s achievement, and highlighted the importance of promoting mental health awareness.
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“To do that in only 31 days is amazing,” he said. “Matt is a great example of how you can sacrifice yourself for a good cause.
“So many people suffer from poor mental health and issues like loneliness, and during the coronavirus crisis that has only been intensified. It’s nice to know so many people will benefit from Matt’s great efforts.”
And midfielder Tettey emphasised the need for everyone to talk openly about their own mental wellbeing.
“It’s a big thing in society, the need for people to talk about their mental health as soon as they have issues - whether it’s with family or friends,” he added.
“The last few months have been really tough mentally. But you have to find ways to cope and do the best you can.
“I know the fans are missing us and we are missing them too. Even to have the 1,000 fans against Preston much such a big difference.”
Mr Colley is now focused on taking his fundraising endeavours to the next level - by riding 5,000 miles through every Norfolk village over the course of the football season.
Along the way he will raise money for five different Norfolk-based charities and organisations, including Sir Norman’s fund.
Visit Mr Colley’s ‘5000Colo’ Just Giving page to donate.