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Norwich man answers ex-MP’s call to support mental health services

PUBLISHED: 09:21 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:21 30 July 2020

Matt Colley, from Old Catton, is aiming to cycle 500 miles throughout August to raise money and awareness for mental health provision in Norfolk. Picture: Matt Colley

Matt Colley, from Old Catton, is aiming to cycle 500 miles throughout August to raise money and awareness for mental health provision in Norfolk. Picture: Matt Colley

Archant

After former MP Sir Norman Lamb encouraged people to take on a physical challenge to help support his mental health campaign, one Norwich man decided do just that – while also trying something completely new.

Matt Colley, from Old Catton, is aiming to cycle 500 miles throughout August to raise money and awareness for mental health provision in Norfolk. Picture: Matt ColleyMatt Colley, from Old Catton, is aiming to cycle 500 miles throughout August to raise money and awareness for mental health provision in Norfolk. Picture: Matt Colley

The former North Norfolk MP used Norfolk Day on Monday, July 27, to ask people to walk 500 miles to help support mental health provision in the county.

Matt Colley, 40, from Old Catton, has taken up the challenge and will attempt to cover the distance on his bike instead of walking – despite having no experience of long-distance cycling.

Despite his lack of experience and the huge area he must cover, he has set himself the target of reaching the 500 mile mark during August.

He said: “I weigh around 16 stone, with a BMI of ‘obese’, and don’t have any cardiovascular fitness to speak of, so this is one hell of a challenge for me to take on.

“I need to average 16 miles a day, so it’s going to be really important to get the setup of the bike right, and to ensure I don’t overdo it and injure myself.”

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Mr Lamb’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund aims to support community organisations in Norfolk working in mental health, learning disability and autism and focused on children, teenagers and young adults.

Having been first diagnosed with depression aged 19, Mr Colley felt compelled to offer his support to the campaign due to his own experiences of mental ill health.

“Although we are a lot better at talking about our mental health nowadays, the sector is still underfunded and this has been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.

“One failsafe solution for improving mental health is exercise, but I’ve been quite neglectful of my physical health too in recent months. The opportunity to help other people while also improving my own mental and physical health was a no-brainer.”

Mr Colley plans to share a video diary of his challenge through YouTube and Instagram.

“I’m really keen to get people talking about their mental health as much as possible, so the more widely my videos are shared, the more conversations I can start,” he said.

To donate, visit his fundraising page.


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