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Leg amputee friends from Fornham All Saints and Mildenhall to cover 700 miles with virtual treks to raise money for mental health charity Mind




Two best friends who are both leg amputees are to take on a walking challenge using some of the world’s landmarks for a mental health charity.

Paul Clark, from Mildenhall, and Marc Pitman, from Fornham All Saints, will be covering 700 miles over 16 weeks by completing five virtual treks, including Mount Fuji and the Grand Canyon, to raise money for Mind.

Paul said: “I met Marc through the Steel Bones amputee charity in 2016 and about two years ago we did a charity climb up Mount Snowdon.

Best friends Paul Clark and Marc Pitman have set a 700 mile virtual walking challenge involving some of the world's most well-known places to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind. Picture by Mark Westley
Best friends Paul Clark and Marc Pitman have set a 700 mile virtual walking challenge involving some of the world's most well-known places to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind. Picture by Mark Westley

“We both did it on crutches and the group ended up raising just over £12,000. Neither of us are ones for sitting around and are always up for a challenge so as more people are suffering mentally due to the pandemic we wanted to do something for those helping others through their issues.”

The charity believes that in an average year, one in four people will suffer with some form of mental health issue, but with 2020 not being a usual year, Paul believes that number could be higher.

He said: “The need for charities like Mind has gone through the roof, I would hate to think how many people call them a day now and how many maybe are not getting through because they and other mental health charities are so busy.

The pair aim to do the challenge, set to start on March 1, by walking on crutches and using rowing machines with their individual distances totalled on an app.. Picture by Mark Westley
The pair aim to do the challenge, set to start on March 1, by walking on crutches and using rowing machines with their individual distances totalled on an app.. Picture by Mark Westley

“During this pandemic, people have been affected in so many different ways, for example, those on the front line that have been doing so much for us and have been so overwhelmed, the effects of this could well be with them for years.”

The pair aim to do the challenge, set to start on March 1, by walking on crutches and using rowing machines with their individual distances totalled on an app.

The five routes are Mount Everest in Nepal, Mount Fuji, Japan, the Great Ocean Road, Australia, the Cabot Trail in Canada and the Grand Canyon, in the USA.

During the challenge there will be regular updates posted on social media and to the pair’s JustGiving page as well.

“The need for charities like Mind has gone through the roof, I would hate to think how many people call them a day now and how many maybe are not getting through because they and other mental health charities are so busy." Picture by Mark Westley
“The need for charities like Mind has gone through the roof, I would hate to think how many people call them a day now and how many maybe are not getting through because they and other mental health charities are so busy." Picture by Mark Westley

Paul said: “We can not do this on our own to help more people with mental health issues so they do not have to suffer in silence.

“If it is one in four of us affected then that is one person in an average family, that is why we need to help the likes of Mind, even if it is a pound, it all helps.”

To find out more about the challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/700mile-virtual-trek.

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