Banff man's pedal power to support people affected by mental health problems
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A Banff war veteran has embarked on a mammoth bike tour to raise awareness of mental health in people who have served in the forces, their families and anyone who has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Steve Beedie set off from the town on his 40th birthday yesterday and before the end of the year aims to cover the whole of Scotland on his bicycle.
He will be filming his Veterans Heart challenge throughout and will be interviewing people affected by mental health in the communities he travels through.
He has also set up a fundraising page to raise money for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – the Armed Forces charity (SSAFA).
Mr Beedie said: “I’ve decided to take to the road on my bike to raise awareness for mental health in veterans, families, and basically everyone who has been hit with this monster of a moment in time.
“After serving in Kosovo and Iraq, losing friends to suicide and facing some of the hardest moments over the past few years to post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety many moments have hit me hard. Then Covid-19 hit and I was laid off, lost my livelihood and my way of life.
“Instead of being upset, I’ve used this moment to gather a lot of help, and I am taking on this bike challenge and filming it to create a documentary to help inspire the thousands more people who are struggling with mental health.”
Mr Beedie initially planned to bike from Banff to Kosovo, but the current travel restrictions have put that on hold.
He will instead do it in stages with the first set to take in the whole of Scotland.
After leaving Banff yesterday he was heading to Inverness and then following the North Coast 500 route.
Once that is completed he will head south taking in Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Glasgow, Edinburgh and finishing at the borders.
He added: “As the tour progresses I will be interviewing veterans, their families and people who have worked in the emergency services about mental health.
“It will then be created into a documentary to help anyone who is struggling.
“The aim is to highlight that people need to reach out to someone, as it is so important to talk if they are having problems.”
To take on the challenge he was donated a bike from a fellow veteran after an appeal on Twitter.
He has been training for the trip by doing 20km, 50km and 70km cycles and it has proved to be something to focus on after an extremely difficult few months.
He has set up a Go Fund Me page with a £3000 target, which people can donate to here
Mr Beedie is founder of the Unspoken Wounds online resources where he produces content to help people with any mental health issues they have.
He added: “I hope the challenge can help inspire the hearts of people who are hurting and need that spark of hope once more.”
People can follow his progress at facebook.com/unspokenwounds