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100-mile charity walk by mental health counsellors

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 February 2019

Victoria Riches, left and Victoria Crowther.

Victoria Riches, left and Victoria Crowther.

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Two mental health counsellors are training to walk 100 miles in two days to raise cash for the service they volunteer for.

The Bromley counsellors say the non-stop trek will raise awareness of counselling for mental health issues.

Victoria Riches and Victoria Crowther are from the Bromley-based Westmeria Counselling Service, which provides both low-cost charity-based and private counselling.

The gruelling training started months ago.

Ms Riches said: “We have been training hard for the Thames Path Trail walk on March 8 and 9.

“We intend to be starting from Pangbourne, Berkshire, and ending in Bromley, following the Thames Path Trail as far as Greenwich.”

She went on: “Because walking 100 miles in one go is a substantial challenge for novices, we have been training since last summer, and I have to admit it hasn’t been easy. The event itself should take about 35 hours, so building up our strength and stamina has been vital. Thank goodness for chocolate biscuits and blister plasters.

“Together we have walked 500 miles in preparation, and have recently undertaken 40 miles of the Trail as part of a practice run to help us better understand what’s involved.

“We had thought that because it was following the river and was a known route it would be reasonably flat with safe gravel paths, but it was also icy, muddy and at times felt very remote.”

Scarlett Jeffrey, fundraising manager for Westmeria, added: “There are times when we all need help.

“Westmeria makes counselling affordable and accessible. We were established in 2003 to help people in crisis, or just in need of support, with a particular emphasis on those suffering from depression, aiming to reduce the trend of reliance on anti-depressants.

“We are in desperate need of funding as we take over 400 low-cost referrals a year with no government funding. We rely on running our own fundraising events, often with little outside support or sponsorship and so any public support for us would make a phenomenal difference.

The charity has additionally launched a Counselling College, teaching courses and training new counsellors for the borough.”

To sponsor the challenge, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/100milesformentalhealth

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