A semi-retired fitness fanatic with bipolar disorder is about to embark on a 100 mile walk to raise funds for a health and well-being charity.
The Climb Your Mountain charity has been a big help to 67-year-old Tom Beddall over recent years and he is keen to give something back.
Tom is a long-term sufferer of bipolar II disorder, which means frequent mood swings.
However, daring himself to undertake regular challenges helps alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder, and his latest expedition – which will see him hike from his home in Milton Keynes to Southend-on-Sea in Essex – is his biggest challenge yet.
His partner Annie Forsey said: “There is such a stigma attached to mental disorders because it’s not something people can see. But in many ways it’s very much like caring for someone with a disability.
“There are days when Tom is really withdrawn and emotional and unable to communicate. Sometimes he can’t even get out of bed.
“The people who run Climb Your Mountain are absolutely amazing. They regularly hold lectures and set challenges, and it’s not just for people with depression or bipolar disorder. They offer support for anyone who needs it, such as recent divorcees or people that just want some guidance.”
Tom and Annie hope to support Climb Your Mountain financially, but they also want to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Following behind Tom in her car, Annie will be able to offer encouragement as well as necessities like food and drink and a change of clothes during the walk – which they think will take six days.
Tom will be leaving from the Morrisons supermarket in Westcroft and a welcome party will be in Southend to greet him when he arrives.
“This will be such an achievement for him. It will be the biggest challenge he has ever faced,” said Annie.
If you would like to show your support for Tom and his cause, then you can see him off from the Morrison’s car park at 9.30am on Saturday, August 17.