January 27, 2021 3.55 pm This story is over 40 months old

Lincolnshire man cycling 900 miles in memory of his dad

He wants to raise awareness of mental health

A man from Northern Lincolnshire will cycle 900 miles in nine days with his three best friends in memory of his dad, who sadly took his own life last year.

Joey Jackson, who grew up in Wootton and now lives in Waltham near Grimsby, is determined to raise awareness for mental health and suicide after losing his 54-year-old father Mark on March 5 last year.

Joey has also since seen the coronavirus pandemic impact on people’s mental health and said four people locally took their own lives in the space of a month recently, so he is determined to do something to tackle the issue.

Declan, Ryan and Joey at the most northern part of their route during the cycling challenge in Ireland in 2019.

Joey, 24, has known his best friends Declan Savage, 25, Ryan Smaller, 25 and Warren Slaven, 21, for 10 years.

They are now getting ready for the cycling challenge, which is due to happen on May 21 depending on government guidance, but can be delayed if needed.

The quartet will be joined by a support team of two more friends – Alex Lee and Ollie Bates – who will follow in a motorhome.

The six of them will drive to John o’Groats in Scotland before setting off to Land’s End in Cornwall on the challenge of cycling 900 miles in 9 days to raise money for mental health charity MIND.

Declan, Joey, Alex and Ryan chilling together in Ulceby.

Joey The Lincolnite: “We have always been aware of the issue of mental health, but since what happened to my dad, it has always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something in his name.

“We [the four friends] had spoken about cycling the length of the country before and with mental health being a massive issue at the minute we wanted to do something that stood out to raise awareness.

“My dad was kind, caring and always putting other people before himself. He was really polite and wanted to help anyone, and everyone got on with him.

“My dad was often joking and pranking around. There was no sign of depression or anything.

“Our motto for the challenge is that it’s okay to not be okay and there is always something to talk to.”

Declan, Joey and Ryan during their cycling challenge in Ireland.

The friends have already raised over £3,000 and will be charting their journey on Instagram here.

They hope to raise at least £5,000 – make a donation to their challenge here.

This is not their first charity challenge as in 2019 the four friends cycled the length of Ireland in seven days. That challenge saw them raise around £7,000 for Irish Guide Dogs For The Blind.

Joey Jackson, Ryan Smaller, Declan Savage and Warren Slaven have been best friends for over 10 years.

Regarding his special bond with his three best friends, Joey added: “We have good banter and are very open with each other. We all talk, especially now more than ever, and they have helped me a lot.”