Hello Again, my name is CPL Charles (Chas) McNeil and I’m a serving member of HM Armed Forces. In the last few years I became heavily involved with PHOENIX HEROES www.phoenixheroes.co.uk a non-profit Community Interest Company helping veterans and their families who are dealing with PTSD.
PhoenixHeroes Mission: Our mission is to raise awareness across the UK about the high number of veterans that are dealing with PTSD and help our veterans and their families live a normal life again. Through our networks we want to provide the support to as many veterans as possible so they can take part in the outdoor activity days being delivered across our communities.
So how am I involved: - As part of PHOENIX HEROES the company runs a number of Carp fishing events across the UK of which I am fortunate enough to be one of the team captains. As well as the events we run an introductory programme to assist veterans to experience the sport and, in many cases, return to fishing. For those who have not tried fishing, it is a fantastically relaxing sport with amazing benefits to mental health and also provides the individuals something different to focus on. It also helps to re-establish camaraderie and team spirit, something a lot of veterans find difficult after leaving the service.
This group is not widely known about so, last year, I thought I would undertake some challenges to raise awareness and perhaps generate some funds along the way,
To that end, Last year’s challenge - was to solo cycle unsupported, wild camping, from John O’Groats to Lands’ End 1000 miles (North to South as that way it should be downhill LOL)
I am not a seasoned cyclist. In fact, I had not been on my bike seriously in five years.
I tried to follow the scenic route as much as possible, as suggested by the Sustrans guide but that’s another story.
As if that was not a big enough challenge, I did this unsupported and in the middle of winter, starting on the 11th December 2020.
The New Challenge
In early 2022 I intend to solo cycle from Lands’ End to Gibraltar via Dover Calais. This time I will be taking a bit longer as I intend to stop every night at a Fishing venue, along the route with a view to landing a carp or two overnight, enhancing relationships with the venues for possible PHOENIX HEROES trips in the future. so, due to the extra distance and equipment required (and the hammering my knees took on the last trip perhaps due to the additional weight on the bike) I will have a support vehicle this time. However, the support vehicle will only carry equipment and supplies and I will cycle every inch of the way.
During the last challenge I realised, very quickly how important help and support is, not just in funding but also in the mental support I was given along the way by family, friends and complete strangers. So, this post is yet again to reach out to everyone who knows me. Friends, Family, Service Men and Women, Veterans or anyone that happens to come across this go fund me page.
My main sponsor are FREESPIRIT www.freespiritfishing.com and Trakker www.trakkerproducts.co.uk As well as support and funds I’m still on the lookout for additional sponsors. So far Aquaculture www.AquacultureEquipment.co.uk have stepped up to the line. Please if you can help in anyway give me a call or drop me a few lines.
All monies raised will support PTSD clinical treatment and outdoor activities, for those suffering from PTSD. I thank you all in advance for you continued support.
Please show your support
Thank you again from me and those you don’t know but who need your help.
- Steve Cook
- Tracy Hoole
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