Darron and Lee are homing in on an epic 350-mile bike ride fund-raiser

Date published: 26 May 2021

Two local business leaders are coming to an end of an epic 350-mile cycle journey from London to Manchester (via Norwich) as they hope to arrive in Chadderton, at Broadgate House, their company's HQ, at around 1pm tomorrow (Thursday).

Raising much-needed funds to finance 50 Samaritans volunteers, and other mental health initiatives, Darron Cavanagh (45), chief operating officer at security specialists The VPS Group, and Lee Newman (48), their CEO, set off from London on Sunday.

The weather has been very mixed, but they have been well supported by riders joining them for each day. 

To put the 350-mile distance into some context, yesterday they cycled 125km, 78miles, Norwich to Spalding - that's nine miles longer than the professionals will ride on the final stage of the Tour de France, stage 21, this year from Chatou to the Champs Elysees.

Darron and Lee have been training for six months - including some gruelling 4am starts to fit in with work.  

Lee's wife Sophie is a Samaritan.

The number of people that ring through to Samaritans every day is astonishing, equivalent to a call every seven seconds.

In the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of young people aged 20-34.

Within the construction, security, and facilities management sectors, three of the key sectors the VPS Group work in, there are some of the highest risk occupations susceptible to stress.

“We’re incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve received to date,” said Darron.

“Lockdowns have been particularly tough for people’s mental health, so we decided on a bike ride to raise money for Samaritans and other campaigns to support mental health and wellbeing.”

They are currently hitting £32,000 of their £50,000 fund-raising target.

The JustGiving page for donations can be accessed here

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