Staff and students from two Newquay academies, Newquay Tretherras and Newquay Junior Academy, have completed the eighth out of 12 planned walk, as part of a project to raise awareness and funds for men’s mental health and suicide prevention. The team of walkers have now walked a total of 124 miles, and are now putting plans together for a proposed 24 hour walk to finish the year long project.

The group of four walkers, including Mr Jones and Mr Nicholls from Newquay Tretherras, walked a grand total of 17.5 miles from Padstow along the Camel Trail to Wenfordbridge. What set this walk apart from all previous #WalkThisWay walks was that it was a night walk, as part of preparations for the proposed 24 hour walk in late October.

Mr Nicholls said: “The conditions for this walk were excellent, as night time temperatures were good and there was almost a completely full moon to light the way. However, there times when it was very challenging, especially when we were under cover of tress and were in complete darkness apart from the light generated by our head-torches. We started our walk at 100.00pm and completed it at 4.30am, exhausted but also exhilarated by completing the challenge. We now need to build up the stamina that will be vital to walk an estimated distance of 50 miles in a 24 hour target time.”

The #WalkThisWay project started as Mr Jones, who is the Lead Teacher of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural studies at Newquay Tretherras, was doing some research into male mental health whilst planning an assembly to promote the school’s annual Movember campaign.

Mr Jones said: “It is a sad and shocking statistic that suicide is now the biggest single cause of death in men under the age of 49 – on average, one man commits suicide every two hours. This equates to 12 men who take their own lives every day in the UK. Hence we decided to do 12 walks of a minimum of 12 miles, to raise awareness and encourage discussion about this important issue. We are now looking ahead to putting together a team of 12 walkers for the 24 hour challenge later this year. The issue obviously affects more than only men, so the project is open to anybody who wants to join us for a walk and a talk about the issue of mental health, whatever your gender.”

The Walk This Way team are well ahead of their target of having walked 96 miles after 8 walks, having walked a total of 124 miles so far. The team now have an ambition to get as close as possible to the 200 miles mark before the end of the project in late October – the last walk being the ambitious 24 hour walk from Land’s End to Newquay to mark the end of the year-long project.

Anyone who is wishing to join them for a future walk can contact either Mr Jones or Mr Nicholls via the Walk This Way Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/walkthiswaytalkthisway/). The #WalkThisWay team has also established a Just Giving fundraising page, (https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/Walk-This-Way) where you can choose to donate money if you are able to.