A MAN is taking on an incredible cycling challenge in a bid to raise £2,000 for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind.  

Derek Gamblin originally from Sunderland, and an ex SAS soldier, is undertaking the Two Volcano Sprint (2VS), a single-stage, unsupported bicycle challenge starting and finishing at iconic South Italian volcanoes, Mt Vesuvio and Mt. Etna.

During the first month of lockdown, Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind received over 1,000 additional calls from Teesside residents needing mental health support.

Derek and his family have firsthand experience of the vital services provided by Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, including counselling and mental health training.

On learning of the increased demand, Derek decided he wanted to do something to help.

Derek, who is now living and working in Dubai, said: “I started my ultra-cycling adventure at the beginning of the year after months of deliberation.  My dreams of racing around the world were interrupted with races being postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“With everything being on pause I wanted to use my training and passion for cycling for a meaningful cause, and to prove that anything is possible if you never give up.”

Derek is funding all travel and race costs himself and will complete the race unsupported, with hopes to raise over £2,000.

Funds raised will provide at least three people with three months of one-on-one counselling sessions to support with anxiety and depression. 

Fundraising Officer at Middlesbrough and Stockton mind, Lorna Routledge, said: “We were thrilled when Derek told us about his plans for fundraising. Derek is a local guy who has really made something of himself despite his own personal struggles in life.

“He is a true inspiration for the men in Teesside and we are so proud to have him as our first ever Ambassador for the charity. We will be updating our supporters on Derek’s incredible challenge over the next few weeks via our social media channels.”

To find out more and to follow Derek’s journey, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/derek-gamblin or Instagram: @mborostcktnmind @alwaysalittlefurther1.