The tragic loss of three friends motivated James Dear from Horncastle to get on his bike to raise cash for charity while raising awareness of the issue of male suicide at the same time.
James cycled 874 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End in support of the charity CALM - the Campaign Against Living Miserably - which works to prevent men from killing themselves. Research shows that 77% of UK suicide victims are male and it is the biggest killer of men aged 20 to 49.
James said the response to his marathon fundraiser had been great. “It is clear that this issue has deeply affected a lot of people,” he said.
“I think everyone has felt depression. Some people handle it better while others do not and it leads to tragedy - usually because of relationship problems.
“I lost two friends a year after each other and another died six years earlier. These were very popular people who had more than one person who considered them best friends. It is very sad that towards the end they felt that they had no friends. It’s very important to know that there is someone there for them, and very important to show that you are there for your friends if they are suffering from depression.”
James took 11 days to do the ride. He says he was very lucky that the weather held up with only one day’s rain.
He received charitable support himself along the way with a couple of night’s camping given to him for free, and a visit from a friend’s dad who arrived on his motorcycle to take James out for dinner. “Everyone was supportive, even people I didn’t know,” he said. James has raised £3,200 so far. Donations can be made to www.justgiving.com/jd1james or at Richard Dear’s Garage, 17 Lincoln Road, Horncastle.
CALM seeks to prevent male suicide by offering support via its website and the helpline 0800 585858. It also challenges a culture that prevents men seeking help when they need it. The charity launched the Man Down campaign on September 10th, which was World Suicide Prevention Day. The charity believes that if men felt able to ask for and find help when they need it, then hundreds of male suicides could be prevented, but cultural barriers prevent this due to the feeling that to seek help equals a loss of masculinity.