Scarborough's Rob Heap cycling more than 1,000 miles to try and raise £10,000 for young people's mental health charities

A Scarborough man inspired by Captain Tom Moore who intended to cycle 100 miles to raise money for charity has now exceeded his target by more than 1,000 miles.

By Corinne Macdonald
Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:28 am
Updated Monday, 16th August 2021, 9:37 am

Rob Heap, who runs a consulting business, began his fundraising in April as part of the Captain Tom 100 challenge which asked people to do 100 of something to raise money for three charities, The Mix, Young Minds and Place2Be, which support young people’s mental health.

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“I thought Captain Tom kept going so why can’t I keep going,” Rob said.

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Rob cycling along the cinder track near Ravenscar. (Rob Heap)

He began the first challenge on April 30, which would have been Captain Tom’s 101st birthday, and completed 212 miles over the following four days, raising over £2,500, but decided to carry on and see just how much he could raise.

Rob said: “I can relate a little bit to mental health issues.

“I had a few years of ill health that took me into a mild state of depression.

“Not being able to ride my bike and achieve my normal work and social activity has in a small way made me understand the terrible situation that children have to deal with, through no fault of their own, as a result of Covid lockdown measures.”

Rob on the Cleveland Way. (Rob Heap)

A survey from Young Minds found that in January 2021, 75 per cent of 13-25 year-olds asked found the third lockdown harder than previous ones in 2020.

The same survey also found that 67 per cent of respondents believed that the pandemic would have a long-term negative effect on their mental health, citing concerns about whether friendships would recover, worries about loss of education and their prospects of finding work.

Rob’s extended challenge has seen him cycle beyond Dalby to Sutton Bank, the Cleveland Way to Osmotherley and most recently the Scarborough to Whitby Cinder Track.

The final stretch has seen him cycle the Cinder Track from Scarborough to Robin Hood’s Bay on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and he will complete the route a further three times tomorrow, Saturday and finishing on Sunday in Robin Hood’s Bay at 4pm.

Taking on a steep climb in Robin Hood's Bay. (Rob Heap)

The gruelling physical challenge has put Rob’s cycling skills to the test but he said he had really enjoyed being back on his bike.

Though he has been mountain biking since 1992, a period of ill health meant he couldn’t cycle for a while.

He added: “I slowly got back into it last year and I’m enjoying it tremendously.”

Rob said none of his achievements would have been possible without the support of Forestry England, the North York Moors National Park Authority, Scarborough Borough Council and his friends and family.

His donations currently stand at £8,480 including one donation of £1,000 and he is now aiming to reach £10,000 when he finishes his challenge .

Rob’s fundraising challenge is currently number four in the list of fundraisers for the Captain Tom 100 on Just Giving.

Anyone wanting to donate can do so via Captain Tom 100 challenge began on April 30 this year to commemorate what would have been the pandemic hero’s 101st birthday.

People all over the country have taken part and the amount of money raised currently stands at more than £1,212,000.

Those who have fundraised for the challenge were able to choose their own charity or The Captain Tom Foundation.