A day in the life of…a fundraising assistant

Kelly Ashcroft has worked with APP as Office Administrator and Fundraising Assistant since September 2020, and prior to that she worked as a peer support volunteer. Kelly, who had no previous mental health problems, experienced PP in 2006, three months after the birth of her son. She had her second child in 2011 and no recurrence of PP, although she still lives with anxiety and depression during times of increased stress.

Here, Kelly shares a typical ‘day in the life’ of her role with APP.

9.30am

I usually start work around 9.30am after the school drop off. The main part of my role is helping people who want to fundraise for APP, whether this is an individual fundraiser or a group of people fundraising as a team. I provide help with setting up a fundraising page on platforms such as JustGiving, GoFundMe and Facebook, and I post out fundraising materials including APP branded running vests, t-shirts, loose change collectors and balloons.

As a charity, we sometimes purchase places in events such as the Royal Parks Half Marathon, so I also help to register our runners' details on the charity consoles.

11.00am

I often help to promote our fundraiser’s stories and campaigns by sharing them on the APP website, through our social media channels and our newsletter. So sometimes the latter part of the morning is spent writing up an inspirational story which is always lovely to do.

I also encourage our fundraisers to join the APP Events and Fundraising Teamspace, and the Running, Walking and Cycling groups on Facebook so that everyone feels supported and part of a community. I might also be sending out thank you emails, certificates and medals to anyone who has recently completed a fundraiser for us.

12.30pm

I usually eat my lunch in the  garden so I can get some fresh air, and read a magazine to help me switch off. After lunch on a Tuesday we always have a team meeting, where each member of the APP team updates on the work they have been doing and what they have coming up. During this meeting we can ask for guidance and support from our colleagues/managers.

1.30pm

I also like to check in on any current fundraising challenges to see how fundraisers are doing and cheer them on. We recently had a fundraiser (APP’s very own Partner Coordinator Simon O'Mara!) complete an epic 851 virtual mile cycle ride for APP, so I always checked in on his daily progress, updated the news article on the APP website and offered him words of encouragement.

We’ve been so lucky to have lots of amazing fundraisers getting involved recently. Amy Coutts-Britton took part in the Oswestry 10k and we had had four runners in the Royal Parks Half Marathon; Nicola Ball, Jeni Dibley-Rouse, Anneka Harry and Sally Hogg. We also had Steve Bushell run the Yorkshire Marathon, Abi France ran the Liverpool Rock n Roll Marathon and we had several runners in the London Marathon; Jason Sales and Andy Rolfe ran in the live event, and Dave Orridge, Sophie Raynor, Esther Land and Karen Lacey ran in the virtual event. The team from the Brockington Mother and Baby Unit even climbed Snowden for APP! We also still have some ‘Miles for Mums and Babies’ fundraising challenges ongoing. I am continually amazed and inspired by our brilliant fundraisers!

2.30pm

As part of my Office Administrator role I might also be answering the APP phone and monitoring the main APP email where I respond to queries or forward them onto relevant colleagues. The administrator role is really varied and can involve things like booking meetings on Zoom, posting out copies of our Insider Guides and leaflets, updating databases, and updating the APP website. Soon, I’ll be writing and sending out Christmas cards to this year's amazing fundraisers which is always a joy to do.

5.00pm

By 5pm I finish work and make a start on the tea for my two children and my husband. Working from home gives me a better work balance by not being stuck in the rush hour commute so life is always a bit more relaxed at teatime these days!

Anyone who is interesting in finding out more about fundraising for APP can contact Kelly by emailing fundraising@app-network.org

 

 

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Simon completes 852 virtual miles raising awareness of support needed for partners during postpartum psychosis

We are absolutely thrilled that today, our brilliant partner peer support coordinator, Simon O’ Mara, completed his mammoth 852 mile journey raising awareness of postpartum psychosis, its impact on partners and the need for more Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in the UK.

Marking the launch of a new support project for the partners of women who develop postpartum psychosis, Simon challenged himself to complete a virtual tour of all UK MBUs to highlight their importance in caring for the whole family unit at this critical time.

Simon, whose wife was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis 15 years ago, said: “As a partner, when all hell’s breaking loose and your wife and child have to go to an MBU, even though it’s the right thing, you feel like you’re losing them. But for some people, due to lack of services in their local areas, they have the added difficulty of travelling a really long way to see their loved ones.

“I initially planned to do the journey out on the road, but due to lockdown restrictions in the early stages of planning, I changed my plans to complete the cycle ride on my smart trainer.

“Doing a smart cycle ride of 852 miles felt like it might actually be a little easier – you don’t have to contend with the weather or road traffic. But it proved really hard at times, especially after a long day’s work when all you really want to do is relax and put your feet up with your family.

“Using the Zwift software and cycling virtually with others from all around the world was a real motivating factor though, as was meeting with some of the MBUs along the journey via Microfost Teams. It’s really kept me going and I’m delighted to have raised £800 for Action on Postpartum Psychosis.”

Simon added: “APP has been campaigning for more MBUs for many years now, and cycling the distances between these services felt like a really good way to show just how these gaps in provision can affect families.”

Dr Jess Heron, Chief Executive, Action on Postpartum Psychosis, said: “Families across the four UK nations are often faced with difficult decisions about receiving specialist MBU care many miles from home or being admitted to a general psychiatric ward. As women can expect hospital treatment to last 8 to 12 weeks, and full recovery to take many, many months, this distance can be an enormous pressure on new families. Families in Northern Ireland, North Wales and the North of Scotland do not yet have access an MBU in their region.

“While we know that experiencing a severe mental illness at this time can be devastating for women, our research shows that partners also describe the experience as the most traumatic of their lives. Many men describe long-term impacts on their own mental health. NHS England have made a commitment as part of the Long Term Plan to inform, signpost and support partners. We hope other regions of the UK will follow suit. MBUs play a vital role in supporting partners and entire family units at this time and have expertise that general psychiatric units do not have.

“We have been working with partners for a long time at APP to support them with information and signposting about postpartum psychosis and getting help, but we are delighted that we now have a dedicated peer support team who can provide email, telephone, forum and video call support for dads and partners. We work closely with all UK MBUs to ensure that all who need it have access to peer support when postpartum psychosis impacts their family.

”We are so grateful for Simon’s commitment to raising awareness of the support needs of partners and we’ve all been cheering him on from the ‘virtual’ sidelines! We are all incredibly proud of what he has achieved.”

APP delivers award-winning peer support services working in partnership with NHS Trusts around the UK, manages a thriving online national peer support forum and facilitates impactful research into postpartum psychosis.

To find out more about Simon’s story, or to add to his fundraising efforts, visit his JustGiving Page 

To support the petition for an MBU in North Wales click here

 

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APP fundraiser story: How cycling boosts my mental wellbeing

Our Partner Peer Support Co-ordinator,  Simon O’Mara, has been incredibly busy raising awareness of postpartum psychosis and raising lots of money for APP by cycling 851 virtual miles.

Here he talks about why cycling is so good for his mental health.

When I get on my mountain bike, riding through narrow tracks at speed, tree branches within an inch of each handlebar, I can’t afford to think of anything else. It’s impossible, in fact. Mountain biking for me, requires technical focus, care and attention, and to let my mind wander elsewhere would be dangerous.

It’s the same with motorcycling, another passion of mine. It’s so good for the soul because when you’re out on the road, you can’t focus on anything else. You need to be acutely aware of the conditions of the road, the weather, other traffic – and of course every move you’re making; it’s critical to keep you safe.

But this need for focus is also why it’s so good for my mental health. The escapism and mindfulness that cycling affords me is invaluable. The fact that it’s good for my physical fitness is merely a by-product for me because, first and foremost, I enjoy it – and that’s why it has such a positive impact on my life and my health – both mentally and physically.

Fifteen years ago, after the birth of our son, my wife was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis (PP) – a severe and debilitating postnatal mental illness. It was a frightening time for the whole family not least because, at the time, we had no real understanding as to what PP was.

It all started in the first couple of weeks after my wife gave birth, I had noticed subtle changes in her mood, but, as a first-time father, I didn’t really know what was ‘usual’ or ‘unusual’ after birth. A few weeks later and these changes took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse, things became very scary, very quickly.

Over the next few days, she woke in the early hours ‘ghost like’, her mood had plummeted, she was anxious, confused, pacing around the house, having delusions and hallucinations, ultimately it all ended in a 999 call.  I found myself in complete turmoil and throughout our journey with PP, had times where I went through every emotion possible - from being terrified, to feeling isolated, worried about the future and even feeling guilt-ridden for decisions I’d had to take; with little sleep, the pressure I felt was enormous, however, the support we received from family, friends and eventually specialist health professionals treating my wife was vital.

Postpartum psychosis as a father or partner, feels very much like a journey with a number of possible stages, from the initial crisis, potential admission to hospital, returning home and recovery - all of which bring different feelings and concerns to the fore. Just holding it together, having to keep strong for your wife or family members can sometimes see you not considering or letting on how worried you are, which in turn can lead to fathers suffering with their own mental ill-health.

It goes without saying that, whilst in the midst of the illness, mountain biking wasn’t really an option. I did give it a go while my wife was in hospital, but I couldn’t concentrate and was too acutely aware of everything that was going on at that time, so I wasn’t able to give cycling all my attention and I wasn’t able to get the enjoyment and mental health benefits from it.

When my wife came home, as her partner, I still had real worries about whether she might relapse and how we would cope if she did. I wondered if things might be drastically different for us and how life might be in the future. So it wasn’t until she was firmly into her recovery journey that I was able to stop and think about how I was coping, how I was feeling. It was during this period of my wife’s recovery that mountain biking became a significant part of my own recovery from the stress and trauma that PP had on our family.

But it isn’t even just the time that I’m on my bike when I notice a change in how I’m feeling. Even when I’m putting the bike back on the car, ready to head home, I feel refreshed, ready to deal with anything that life throws at me. It not only gives me those moments of mindfulness, it re-sets everything and helps build longer-term resilience.

This is why I was so keen to combine my learnings from our family’s experience with my love of cycling to raise awareness and funds, and to campaign for specialist services for postpartum psychosis. Since October, I’ve been cycling a virtual route of 851 miles to demonstrate the gaps in service provision around the UK and the miles many families have to travel to access this care.

 

I’m cycling on behalf of APP. If you’d like to sponsor me, visit my JustGiving page for more information.

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APP ambassador Laura Dockrill edits special edition of Mum Poet Club zine

Front over image from the Mum Poet Club ZineThe Mum Poet Club, which publishes a regular zine, is a supportive writing group for parents who write poetry.

"And How Is Mum" is Issue 5 of the Mum Poet Club zine and features beautiful illustrated poems on the theme of identity in motherhood. It was published on 19 November 2021.

These poems will make you cry, bring you comfort and bring you hope.

Each poem has been personally selected by APP Ambassador, award-winning writer and author of “What Have I Done”, Laura Dockrill.

On editing the collection Laura said:

“Guest editing this has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Why? Because not only is the standard exceptional; the writing is extraordinary, the courage is breath-taking – there is humour, there is real-talk and there is love by the bucketload- but truly because it was so hard to read poetry with so many tears in my eyes. I very quickly found myself sobbing and snotting over my marmite on toast, reading lines down the phone to my sister.

“These poems are a safe space. Reading this is a safe space that could open a conversation, a conversation that could even go on to save someone’s life.”

This zine is made with love by the Mum Poem Club and features a beautiful gold foiled cover by Ellamae Statham.

Watch this short film from Laura Dockrill about "And How Is Mum".

 

The Mum Poet Club kindly donated 22 copies of the zine to send onto each of the UKs 22 Mother and Baby Units.

APPs Chief Executive Dr Jess Heron, and Jessie Hunt APPs Marketing and Digital Communications Coordinator attended the official Launch Party for "And How Is Mum?" which was held online on Tuesday 14th December. Jessie said “I loved attending the poetry night. It was so moving and a really special experience. Thank you so much for inviting us to be part of it.”

The Mum Poet Club has donated all profits made from this issue to APP and has raised more than £1,000. We would like to say a huge thank you to The Mum Poet Club for supporting APP and to all who have bought copies of the zine.

If you have been inspired by the Mum Poet Club, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

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Abi runs the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon for APP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abi France ran the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on Sunday 24th October 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Abi’s sister had postpartum psychosis two and a half years ago and has recently had her second baby.

Abi says: “APP has helped my family and provided us with much needed information and I hope that my fundraiser will help APP to continue supporting other families”.

Abi’s fundraiser has raised more than £1,202. We would like to say a huge thank you to Abi for supporting APP and to all who have donated.

You can visit and donate to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Abi, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

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Dellasposa Gallery silent art auction in support of APP

Dellasposa Gallery held a silent art auction in support of Action on Postpartum Psychosis on Thursday 4th November, in memory of Alice Gibson-Watt (née Montagu-Douglas-Scott), who passed away in 2012 due to complications resulting from postpartum psychosis. Alice is the cousin of Julian Phillimore, the Founder and Director of Dellasposa.

The silent auction was hosted by BBC Antiques Roadshow's Jonty Hearnden, with a brilliant selection of artworks by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Sir Peter Blake, Michael Craig Martin, Ben Eine, David Shrigley, Sara Pope, Quentin Blake, among many others.

To view the auction catalogue follow the link here.

We would like to say a huge thank you Dellasposa for supporting APP.

 

Dr Jessica Heron, Chief Executive of APP, says 'We have been so grateful for the support that Alice's friends, family, colleagues at Sotheby's and the Antiques Roadshow have given us over the past 10 years. Their support has made an enormous difference to the growth and reach of our charity, and meant that we have been able to provide life-saving support to women and families, train health professionals throughout the UK, and campaign for appropriate services for those who suffer postpartum psychosis. We are delighted that Jonty Hearnden will be the celebrity Auctioneer and for the impressive pieces being sold to support our charity.'

For further information on the silent auction and related exhibition, you can write to info@dellasposa.com

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Steve runs the Yorkshire Marathon for APP

Steve Bushell ran the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday 17th October 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Steve is the husband of Jo Bushell, who has also held several fundraisers for APP.

Steve said: “Shortly after the birth of our first child, my wife suffered an episode of postpartum psychosis (PP).

It hit us a few days into parenthood, following a week of zero sleep. The most terrifying thing that night when we called an ambulance was the realisation that in addition to me and our family not understanding what was happening, neither did any of the medical staff or paramedics on call that Sunday.

Jo was transferred to a Mother and Baby Unit the following day and received great care as part of her recovery.

APP provides support for women and families who have experienced PP and strives to raise awareness of the illness. They also create networks to connect those with lived experience and campaign for better services.

Steve’s fundraiser has raised more than £1,720. We would like to say a huge thank you to Steve for supporting APP and to all who have donated including Steve's employer M&G Prudential who have match funded £300.

You can still visit and donate to his fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Steve, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

 

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Amy’s Oswestry 10k run for APP

Amy Coutts-Britton took part in the Oswestry 10k on Sunday 17th October 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Amy is a peer support volunteer with APP and has attended training events, meeting other mums like her who have experienced postpartum psychosis.

Amy said: “I have decided to reignite my running career 15 years post marathon.

I believe this APP is more important than ever during the pandemic as when you’re going through potentially one of the scariest things in your life it can help you feel less alone and be a fab informative and listening ear when so many baby groups etc have been limited.

APP trains peer supporters such as myself to provide forum based online support but also gives us the means to provide 1:1 support for people going through this traumatic experience, including their partners and wider families. APP also arranges café groups so we can meet up in person and feel less alienated.

It really is a shining light in the darkness that is postpartum psychosis.”

Amy’s fundraiser has raised more than £455. We would like to say a huge thank you to Amy for supporting APP and to all who have donated.

You can still visit and donate to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Amy, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

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Our 'Fabulous Four' who ran this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon

For this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon which took place on Sunday 10th October, APP had four amazing runners: Sally Hogg, Nicola Ball, Jeni Dibley-Rouse and Anneka Harry.The Half Marathon was held in central London, and took in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens - in all their autumnal glory.

Sally has worked on improving services for women with perinatal mental health problems and is an admirer of APP’s work, particularly the central role played by women with lived experience. Sally completed a skydive with team APP in 2018, and ran a virtual half marathon in her local area for APP in October 2020 after the Royal Parks ‘live’ event was postponed due to Covid-19. She also ran in this year’s live event.

Sally says: "Two of my friends have had postpartum psychosis (PP), and through my work I’ve met many other women who have suffered from PP. APP is a fantastic charity which provides information and support to women and their families, trains health professionals and facilitates research. The charity has been instrumental in campaigning for improvements to services for women with PP across the UK. Women who experience PP have a very difficult and unusual experience of early motherhood. In addition, the stigma associated with mental illness can make it hard for them to talk about their experience. APP’s peer support helps women and families affected by PP feel understood, supported and less isolated”

You can still visit and donate to Sally’s JustGiving page here.

Nicola says: “In 2016 I was diagnosed with PP after the birth of my daughter. A relatively unknown mental illness that affects 1-2 in 1,000 births. This year to raise money and just as importantly raise awareness I will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon with my amazing friend Jeni Dibley-Rouse who has been incredible."

You can still visit and donate to Nicola’s JustGiving page here.

Jeni says: “I am very proud to be running the Royal Parks half marathon for APP and supporting our friends Nicola and James. They have overcome PP with the support of this amazing charity. The work that APP completes is vital in supporting and raising awareness of the condition, please donate to help support the APP and help me through the last few weeks of training.”

You can still visit and donate to Jeni’s JustGiving page here.

Anneka chose to support APP after her friend, APP Ambassador Laura Dockrill, experienced PP. She says: “In 2018, postpartum psychosis tried to steal my friend Laura Dockrill from her son, her partner, her family and friends. From her very own life. When Laura was in the psychiatric hospital, I wrote her a poem to act as a mirror, to remind her why she is the best friend and human being. Laura not only survived but, as she says herself, she surTHRIVED. And she has come out the other side an EVEN BETTER version of the best friend and human being! APP is a small charity doing big work – promoting awareness, funding research and campaigning to help more women and families surthrive.”

You can still visit and donate to Anneka’s VirginMoneyGiving page here.

Our four runners have raised more than £3,900 for APP. We would like to thank Sally, Nicola, Jeni, and Anneka for supporting APP and everyone who has donated.

If you have been inspired by our runners, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

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Cyclist to travel 850 virtual miles raising awareness of support needed for partners during postpartum psychosis

APPs Partner Peer Support Coordinator, Simon O’Mara, is embarking on a mammoth 852 mile journey to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis, its impact on partners and the need for more Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in the UK.

Simon came up with the idea of a virtual tour of the UK’s MBUs to highlight their importance in caring for women who develop postpartum psychosis and their families. He hopes to raise awareness among women, partners and families of where the UK’s MBUs are and, importantly, the need for units in areas of the UK currently without them.

Simon, whose wife was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis 15 years ago, said: “When my wife was diagnosed it was a frightening time – not least because we had no prior knowledge of postpartum psychosis. But in many ways I feel that we were incredibly lucky in that we were able to access care in an MBU less than a 40 minute drive away – in my work with APP, I realise that many other families aren’t so lucky.”

Postpartum psychosis is a debilitating postnatal mental illness that can occur out of the blue in the days following childbirth. New mums with postpartum psychosis may develop high or low mood, or fluctuate between them, alongside delusions, hallucinations or severe confusion. Many of these mothers have had no previous mental health diagnosis prior to onset – although women with bipolar disorder are at higher risk. It affects around 1,400 women and their families every year in the UK and is always considered a medical emergency. However, it is treatable and women go on to make a full recovery with the right support.

Simon added: “APP has been campaigning for more MBUs for many years now, and cycling the distances between these services felt like a really good way to show just how these gaps in provision can affect families.”

Simon had planned to follow the route on the road, however, due to the pandemic, he invested in a smart trainer so he could complete virtual cycle rides using his own bike and smart technology. He will now follow the route virtually using the smart trainer, linking in with the MBUs along the way for online chats with MBU staff about partner support, and talking to other partners who have been affected by PP.

Dr Jess Heron, Chief Executive, APP, said: “Families across the four UK nations are often faced with difficult decisions about receiving specialist MBU care many miles from home or being admitted to a general psychiatric ward. As women can expect hospital treatment to last 8 to 12 weeks, and full recovery to take many, many months, this distance can be an enormous pressure on new families. Families in Northern Ireland, North Wales and the North of Scotland do not yet have access to an MBU in their region.

“While we know that experiencing a severe mental illness at this time can be devastating for women, our research shows that partners also describe the experience as the most traumatic of their lives. Many men describe long-term impacts on their own mental health. NHS England has made a commitment as part of the Long Term Plan to inform, signpost and support partners. We hope other regions of the UK will follow suit. MBUs play a vital role in supporting partners and entire family units at this time and have expertise that general psychiatric units do not have.

“We have been working with partners for a long time at APP to support them with information and signposting about postpartum psychosis and getting help, but we are delighted that we now have a dedicated peer support team who can provide email, telephone, forum and video call support for dads and partners. We work closely with all UK MBUs to ensure that all who need it have access to peer support when postpartum psychosis impacts their family.

”We are so grateful for Simon’s commitment to raise awareness of the support needs of partners and we will be cheering him on from the ‘virtual’ sidelines!”

APP delivers award-winning peer support services working in partnership with NHS Trusts around the UK, manages an online national peer support forum and facilitates impactful research into postpartum psychosis.

To find out more about Simon’s story, and to sponsor his cycle ride, please visit his JustGiving Page

If you are a partner and use Swift, Simon would love some support and virtual chats as he completes his journey. You'll also be able to follow him on Strava.

You can see  daily updates below; 

Day 1: Simon completed 41 miles, which is the equivalent from West of Scotland MBU (Glasgow) to St. John’s, Livingtston.

Day 2: 45.2 miles ridden, total mileage over the weekend now at 85.2 miles. 

Day 3: Simon is working in the week, so cycling in the evening. 24 miles done this evening.

Day 4: Simon cycled 26 miles in the evening, is 96 miles into stage 2, with a total of 136 miles completed to date.

Day 5: 26.5 miles completed with a 1,098ft climb.

Day 6; Sees Simon finish stage 2, a total of 179 miles into the journey and Beadnell MBU.

Day 7: Simon has now completed a total of 209 miles, and has a virtual meet with Beadnell MBU in the morning.

Day 8: Simon had a great virtual meet with Beadnell MBU this morning, having reached Morpeth last night. They talked about the support they not only provide for the mums but also the partners and families. A small unit and noticeable the large mileage between MBUs around this area, some partners/families having long journeys to visit their wife and baby. That's stage 2 complete. Simon is now 179 miles into the journey and about to start stage 3 a 121 mile stretch.

Day 9: Simon cycled a short stint today, just to keep the legs turning -10 miles. Stage 3 and Simon has completed 85 miles; only 35 miles to go till the end of this stage.

Day 10: A 24 mile ride, sees Simon only 12 miles from the end of stage 3 and shortly getting to Parkside Lodge MBU. 

Day 11: Another short cycle of 12 miles, keeping an average speed of around 22mph and sees stage 3 complete. Meeting with Parkside Lodge MBU today.

Day 12: Another quick 16 miles sneaked in. Meeting with MBU at Ribblemere meet on Sunday. Received a message of support from the MBU Bristol

Day 13: 342 miles in to the journey, around 40% of the cycle done. Another 26 mile ride competed tonight and 1038ft climbed, leaves just 24 miles to the end of stage 4 and the meet up on Sunday afternoon.

Day 14: Stage 4 complete and an extra mile started on stage 5. Just about to go and have a small ride for today

Day 15: Another small 16 miles ridden, well into stage 5 and today should see Simon finish that stage. Simon met up with Karen and Andrew at Ribblemere MBU, it was really good to meet and hear the support they provide.

Day 16: Stage 5 complete and onto Stage 6. The next meeting is with Adele at Andersen ward, Wythenshawe MBU  on Tuesday, which represents the end of stage 5.

Day 17: Simon was able to get another 16 miles (climb of 912ft) done and get the total miles cycled up to 415m, just another 11 miles to go before he reaches half way. So he is on stage 6 heading towards the Beeches.

Day 18: Simon was able to get another 16 miles (climb of 912ft) done and get the total miles cycled up to 415m, just another 11 miles to go before he reach half way. He is on Stage 6 heading towards the Beeches.

Day 19: Simon completed a 23 mile ride, taking him over the half way mark and around 2 thirds of the way into Stage 6.

Day 20: Another meeting held and this time with the Andersen ward, Wythenshawe MBU

Day 21: Inbetween chattting to MBUs, and tired legs… Simon completed a 12 mile ride, which sees the end of stage 6 and the start of stage 7 towards Greenhaven.

Day 22: After a few days rest over half term, Simon got my legs back in to it with a quick 12 miles

Day 23: Another 12 miles completed this lunchtime; it sees stage 7 complete and onto stage 8, a longer stage of 60 miles . It’s great to see the status map filling up with green…

Day 24: Thursday night and Simon managed to sneak in a 45 minute ride, covering another 15 miles. This finally takes him over the 500 mile marker; total at 505m.

Day 25: A late lunch today and time in the saddle for 18 miles, 540 miles in total and over half way in stage 8. Simon  also met with Shelley from The Beeches this morning and had another great chat covering what APP offer on the partners side but also the grandparents cafés groups, Health Unlocked, the training side of APP, and the peer support.

Day 26: Simon is nearing the end of stage 8, with only 6 miles before he starts Stage 9. Simon also did an Instagram live with DadMatters whilst cycling!

Day 27:  Another 21 miles done today, which sees stage 8 complete and me Simon has got 15 miles into stage 9. It’s only 34 miles this one, so Simon is almost half way through already, heading towards the Barberry.

Day 28: Simon is now over two thirds of the way through, hitting a total mileage of 578. Another quick 15 miles last night sneaked in after work. Simon is pretty close to just 3 full stages to go, though the next one to Melbury Lodge is 133 miles! Onwards and upwards, looks like a 1000 ft climb is coming his way!

Day 29: A 910 ft climb and 19 miles, taking Simon to a total of 597 miles, the end of stage 9 and 15 miles into the larger stage 10. Simon also took part in an interview on BBC Radio Surrey -  tune in to 3.46 minutes  https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09zf6j6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 30: Simon managed to put in a 12 mile ride in amongst everything else, a busy day but it still means he is a few more peddles forward and 27 miles into stage 10. It’s fairly flat on this section and only small inclines. There’s a couple of 500 foot climbs later on in this stage but that’s pretty standard climbs on a lot of his sessions anyway.

Day 31: Simon has been on the saddle for 31 days so far! Today's session although small, only 14 miles, was a tough one, as Simon was later than normal getting on the bike and decided he needed to try and do a faster average speed. That short stint takes the total miles to 623 and 41 miles into stage 10.

Day 32: Friday morning and Simon had a virtual meet with the MBU at Birmingham and was joined by Hannah Bissett APPs National Coordinator (NHS Contracts & Regional Projects), and Natalie Thompson APPs Peer Support Facilitator, Birmingham and Solihull. Another hectic weekend but Simon managed a 25 mile ride on Sunday, so has now been 32 days in the saddle. He is around half way through stage 10 (66 miles) and a total mileage so far of 648.

Day 33: This is the second longest stage but Simon now has 192 miles to go until the overall finish. He has ridden a total of 660 miles, with a small 12 mile ride Monday night, leaving him with 52 miles left to ride in stage 10.

Day 34: Simon completed a 21 mile cycle tonight, bringing the total up to 681 miles and for stage 10 only 34 miles to do, before a meet up with Melbury Lodge MBU.

Day 35: Simon got on his bike first thing before work this morning  and did 12 miles. He had a catch up with the Brockington MBU on Thursday. It was lovely to talk to the staff, hear about the MBU, and chat about APPs partner support project. Simon found a little more time later in the day, jumped back on the bike wanting to finish stage 10 and rode 23 miles, making a total of 35 miles on day 35. This now means he is 1 mile into the start of stage 11; only a 136 miles left until the finish.

Day 36: The end of the cycle is getting ever closer. Simon is now 20 miles into stage 11, which leaves him a total of 117 miles left to complete the challenge.

Day 37: Simon completed a 24 mile ride this morning. Stage 11 completed and onto stage 12 the LAST stage! With now only 93 miles to the finish; so far he has ridden 759 miles over 37 days.

Day 38: Simon completed a 29 mile ride today, climbing a total of 755 feet, which leaves him just 64 miles until the finish line.

Day 39: Simon managed a small 10 miles tonight, leaves just 54 miles left to do.

Day 40: Simon managed to get a 35 mile ride done tonight; which leaves him only 19 miles left to ride tomorrow (Friday) , having ridden a total so far of 833 miles.  A poignant day for Simon today, meeting the staff at Melbury Lodge which is his nearest MBU. Simon is now close to his fundraising target and thanks go out to all those who’ve sponsored him.

Day 41: Simon has now finished stage 12, the last stage in his 852 mile cycle!

Simon says "It’s been great meeting the staff at the MBUs and hearing about what they’ve been doing especially with covid restrictions but there’s also been tough at times, dragging myself up the stairs when it would’ve been far nicer having a meal and then sitting on the sofa! I’ve also had moments where I was taken back through our own journey and also considered how much awareness and change APP have been a part of. Also had a few brilliant times in the virtual world of Zwift, when you just find yourself in a group of riders from around the world, in a pack all keeping up with each other, it just pulls you along and helps with motivation. Thanks to all those who have supported me."

FACTS AND FIGURES

Amount raised to date £1131.88   Equipment used
Total Distance travelled 852 miles   Mountain bike
Total Climbed 24,232 feet   Wahoo Kickr smart trainer
Challenge Completed over 41 days   Zwift (running on an iPad)
Total hours on challenge 45 hours 19 minutes   Fan – Big!
Average speed 18.8 mph   Towel…
Longest mileage in 1 session 45.2 miles   Me & legs!
Highest climb in 1 session 2345 feet    
Longest time in 1 session 2 hours 43 minutes    
Total fluids taken whilst cycling 45 litres    
Longest time in 1 session 2 hours 43 minutes    
Radio listened to Endless    
Latest ‘Dr Who’ series Watched 4 episodes
  • Hadn’t watched since I was a child, not telling who the Dr was!
Movies 2 – (1 Xmas movie!)

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