A young Bridgnorth man and two friends have been raising money in memory of a friend who took his own life. Giles Themans, a third-year student at Newcastle University, cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End along with friends Alex Hayton and Fenn Newsome, including a pit stop in Bridgnorth which saw a celebratory barbecue at Bridgnorth Rugby Club were they were joined by Mayor Ron Whittle. The three are spreading the word about mental health problems with #ItsOkNotToBeOK, and raising money for Marcus in Mind, a charity set up in memory of fellow rugby player Marcus Colville, which provides support to young people at risk of suicide. Suicide is currently the biggest killer of young men in the UK, with 84 men under 45 taking their own lives every week.
Giles’ mum Sally says, “Giles and his pals were ecstatic when they arrived at Land’s End. They were very emotional, having stayed with Marcus’s family and cycled with his father Alaric through Cornwall, and they’ve raised almost £5,000 on their ride.
“They racked up almost 1,200 miles in 14 days, against the wind and unsupported for the first half (none of us had made arrangements to help as we didn’t believe they’d actually do it!). But the important thing is that, as well as being a healing experience for them, they spread the message and talked about suicide and mental health everywhere they went. If it can just save one young life and one family from the torture we saw when we visited the Colville family, that’s an achievement.”