24 MAY 2017
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Firefighters Cycle for Mental Health

18 May 2017

A Northern Ireland wide cycle challenge has taken in Newry and Warrenpoint fire stations as part of a campaign to raise mental health issues with thousands of school children.

Four firefighters have put down the water hose to take up the 700 mile journey to 68 fire stations, which will conclude this Saturday.

The ‘Station2Station Cycle’ is the brainchild of firefighter, Noel McKee, who as a trained counsellor is looking to highlight the importance of mental health and related dangers with the charities MindWise and NI Chest, Heart and Stroke on board.

Along the journey the firefighters speak to two post primary schools a day sharing their experiences in life to the students as well as the teachers.

“We want to get the message out there to school children especially, to look out of each other and if they see any of the mental health signs get help,” Noel told the Newry Reporter.

“We decided to take up a cycle challenge to show the school kids that if us men, mostly 50 plus in age, can do something like this then they can take on challenges in life. 

“They look at us at our age probably thinking we have one foot in the grave. We want to educate them on having a healthy body and healthy mind to raise awareness of suicide and self harm awareness. 

“Mental health and fitness go hand-in-hand.

“We work in a very traumatic job as firefirghters, which over a working life of 30 years, a lot of what we witness stays with us.

“The NIFRS is the first public body to promote mental health in such a positive way.”

It is estimated that the team of cycling firefighters will have spoken to more than 5,000 school children along the route.

“We will finish next Saturday on the Ards peninsula after leaving central Belfast at 9am.

“Anyone is welcome to come along and join us as long as they are self sufficient on any stage of the cycle,” said Noel.

You can see the progress of Station2Station Cycle challenge by looking on the NIFRS Twitter feed and facebook page. 

Any money raised will be split evenly between MindWise and Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke and donations to the Station2Station Cycle Challenge can be made through firefighter Noel McKee’s Just Giving Page - https://www. justgiving.com/fundraising/healthybodyhealthymind or by Texting RED to 70660 to donate £3*.

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