A County Tyrone clergyman, who lost his mother to suicide 30 years ago, will today set off on a three-day cycle around the eight Church of Ireland cathedrals in the North and Donegal.
The Rector of St James, Donagheady, Reverend Doctor Robin Stockitt, will be joined by 13 friends from the Donemana area as he raises funds for a mental health charity and his parish hall.
The group – who meet up twice a week to cycle – will set off this morning and will cover 240 miles over the three days.
Their itinerary includes visits to the Church of Ireland cathedrals in Derry, Raphoe, Enniskillen, Clogher, Armagh, Dromore, Lisburn and Belfast.
Dr Stockitt’s friends belong to different Christian churches in Tyrone and funds raised will be split evenly between their two chosen projects.
The first is to renovate Donagheady Parish Hall, while the second is the charity Cycle Against Suicide, which raises awareness about mental health.
Rev Stockitt says his interest in mental health stems from the loss of his mother, 30 years ago this week, and from contact with parishioners who have also been bereaved through suicide.
Dr Stockitt says Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK at 16.5 per 100,000. This means that in the 18 years since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, more people have died through suicide than were killed in the ‘Troubles’.
You can support Dr Stockitt’s cycle, by donating online at www.sponsorme.co.uk/robinstockitt/eight-cathedrals-sponsored-bike-ride.aspx.