A MAN who set himself the challenge of climbing to the top of Leicestershire’s highest point every week this year, has inspired dozens of others to do the same, all in the name of mental health.
Garyjohn Warren, is set to scale Bardon Hill every Monday in 2022 to raise funds for a charity called the ‘Leg Up Project’, which is based in Coalville, and helps men with their mental health.
Since starting the challenge, he has scaled the 278 metre elevation three times, and has encouraged others to do the same. So far dozens of people have taken on the challenge and shared selfies of themselves at the top of the hill to an online group called ‘BardonHill52.’ They have also been encouraged to make a donation to the ‘Leg Up Project’, and over £100 has been raised for the cause so far.
“I can’t believe how quickly it’s snowballed, and how many people have got on board with the challenge, said the 39-year-old policeman, who lives in Coalville.
“The idea started off as just a bit of a personal challenge for myself, but when I got my fiancé to come along, who isn’t big on walking, and I saw the effect that getting to the top had on her,” he said. “I thought I’d just love more and more people to experience that.
“So many people live in the area who’ve never even been to the top of Bardon Hill, which is a shame because it really is a beautiful location and a great place to reflect and get away from everything for a while.
“I came to the area from Essex a few years ago and where I lived before was quite suburban, a concrete jungle really,” he continued.
“To have somewhere like this on my doorstep now is amazing and there’s such a feeling of serenity and accomplishment when you get to the top. You can see for miles, and I’m glad so many others are taking the time to do their challenge for their mental and physical health.”
For those who complete the challenge and have made a donation to the cause, Mr Warren plans to reward them with a certificate and a badge of achievement.
He wants to give back to the ‘Leg Up Project’, as it is a cause which has helped him with his mental health during a difficult transition in his life, when moved to the area and underwent a divorce.
“I’ve got a lot to thank the project for, and if it’s one thing it’s taught me is that the most difficult thing sometimes is to get up and make that start. Taking up this challenge is just my way of doing what I can to encourage others and give them that ‘leg up’ – that little nudge in the right direction that they may need.
“I’ve been low myself and sometimes all you need is that push and that sense of achievement to get you back on your feet,” he added.
To get involved in the challenge, join the group ‘Bardonhill52’ on Facebook.
To find out more about the ‘Leg Up Project’, visit: www.the-leg-up-project.com
By Louise Steel