Henry Parkinson’s 60th birthday bike ride                                                                12 / 13 July 2014

I have very personal reasons for wishing to support 
Mental Health Research UK. Several members of my family have suffered from serious mental illness. My mother was in and out of psychiatric hospitals for many years and attempted suicide once. Illnesses of this kind have a genetic link so my two grand children (ages 1 and 3) could inherit the illness. I therefore want to see researchers developing drugs which don't cause nasty side-effects - side-effects which are sometimes as bad as the symptoms of the illness. Our understanding of mental illness is currently light years behind most physical illnesses.

At least 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives and some estimates are as high as 1 in 2. In the under 65s almost as many life years are lost as a result of mental illness as from all physical illnesses put together. But, despite the huge impact of mental ill health on individuals and the economy, mental health research receives only a fraction of the funding that supports research into other long-term chronic diseases.

More research into mental illness is desperately needed and my 60th birthday is approaching. So as the first leg of my celebrations I have decided to attempt a challenge and raise some money for Mental Health Research UK. Over the weekend of 12/13 July, with a few friends and family, I will be attempting to ride my bike from Wedmore in Somerset to the North Wales Coast along a hilly route following the line of Offas Dyke. We are aiming to cycle the just over 220 miles with a total climb of almost 17,000 ft and several gradients of over 13% in 3 days. Many of the group aren’t experienced cyclists and I only bought my road bike last year - so this will be quite a challenge for most of us and I am already training hard.

So, please dig as deep as you are able - nobody ever knows what is around the corner for them or for their families. If you want to sponsor me please do so by following this link.

Well done Henry and thank you - Mental Health Research UK