Firefighters set to cycle length of UK raising mental health awareness

Mel Buck Lowestoft Suffolk firefighter LEJOG 2021

Mel Buck preparing for the LEJOG 2021 challenge. - Credit: Gemma Buck

A firefighter from Lowestoft will be cycling the length of the UK for a special cause next week.

Mel Buck, who is a Station Manager (Prevention) but also an on-call firefighter at North Lowestoft station, will be setting out as part of a 20-strong team of men and women from both Suffolk and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services for the challenge of cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Mel Buck Lowestoft Suffolk firefighters LEJOG 2021

The firefighters - including Mel Buck, third from right - who will be cycling the length of the UK, raising mental health awareness. - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Mr Buck will be setting out on the challenging journey with his colleagues next week in support of The Fire Fighters Charity – while raising awareness of the mental health challenges they and their colleagues face every day.

The team will set off from Land’s End on September 20 ahead of ten very long and arduous days of cycling, with the objective of reaching John O’Groats, Scotland on September 29 – having by then travelled over 1,000 miles!

Mr Buck said: "The aim of the ride is to raise essential funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, which rehabilitates firefighters affected by physical and emotional stress of the job - but more importantly increase awareness of mental health.

Cyclists Mel Buck Suffolk firefighters LEJOG 2021

Some of the cyclists, including Mel Buck (centre), and support team at a team building event at Herringfleet. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We have raised £30,000 through our wonderful sponsors & supporters to date but our aim is £50,000."

The funds would go towards transforming the outdoor space and garden at Jubilee House in Penrith - one of three residential centres run by the charity.

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The Fire Fighters Charity supports the health and wellbeing of all serving and retired members of the fire service community, as well as their spouses, partners and dependants.

Suffolk Station Manager, Darren Cooper, first came up with the idea for the challenge.

He said: “The money we’d like to raise will make a huge difference in supporting mental health.

“But equally, this is a journey we are making to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

"Each member of the team will produce a daily video to share stories and emotions which have shaped them as individuals from their personal and/or professional lives."

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/team/longestride and for the latest updates search Facebook: The Longest Ride 2021.

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