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Local teen puts in the miles for mental health

A LOCAL teenager has walked 71 miles around Salisbury Plain and raised over £2,000 for a communal growing space in Melksham which helps people with mental health challenges.

Mason, 15, walked for 24 hours around the Imber Range Perimeter Path on the Salisbury Plain mainly on his own, stopping briefly at checkpoints to raise money Meadowbrook, a local organisation based in Woodrow Road. The community interest company is focused on improving people’s wellbeing, particularly those experiencing mental and/or physical health challenges and social isolation.

“The walk went as well as I could have hoped for,” said Mason. “Physically, I am utterly exhausted and achy but amazingly no blisters! Mentally – pleased and proud of myself. To keep myself going on the walk I broke it down and aimed for the next checkpoint, rather than thinking of the whole thing. Listening to podcasts helped – especially in the night time.

“Throughout the whole 24 hours, my dad met me at checkpoints approximately every hour and a half. Two friends walked an hour with me in the evening. My whole family and my friends cheered me at the start and the finish. At nine hours I stopped for hot food, blister plasters and a change of socks. Other than that, I just stopped for cups of tea and water and snack top-ups.”

Mason came up with the idea to embark on the challenge after completing his Bronze Ten Tors 35 mile challenge a few months ago, which is a walking expedition for young people held in Dartmoor.

“I wanted to test myself to the limit and I’d built up strength and endurance from my Ten Tors experiences” Mason explains, “I really believe in what they are trying to do at Meadowbrook and raising as much money as possible meant everything to me.

“It was cooler in the night so that was nice but not being able to see very far in front of me made it more difficult. Seeing the sunrise spurred me on.”

Meadowbrook, which is run by Mason’s parents, is currently running a ‘Get the Growing Going’ fundraiser to develop their outside space and to boost funds. To support this, Mason embarked on his own Miles for Meadowbrook challenge. Mason has exceeded the fundraising target that was set at £2,000, he said, “Currently I have helped to raise £2,020 but there are still donations coming in.”

All funds donated towards the growing space will enable Meadowbrook to provide supported sessions within this new space. They need to purchase: sets of good-quality garden tools; deer and rabbit-proof entrance gates; a garden bench; and timber for creating handmade raised beds suitable for wheelchair users which Melksham Men’s Shed have agreed to construct.

For more details or to donate, visit, https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/meadowbrookgrowspace

Meadowbrook CIC is on Facebook as @Meadowbrook-Wiltshire and on Instagram as @meadowbrook_wiltshire

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