CALM supporters are pretty ace. You name it, they’ve done it. Running across America? Done. Monkey biking in the Sahara? Done. Your inventiveness is seemingly never ending, which means that shocking us is pretty, well, difficult. Enter 11-year old Felix, who set his sights on conquering the summit of Helvellyn – England’s highest bridleway and third highest peak – all to support The Campaign Against Living Miserably.
Marcus Chapman, CALM Trustee and the organiser of our biggest sporting event, Nelson’s Tour De Test Valley, was there and shares how it went down:
A few weeks ago a very brave 11-year old Cumbrian by the name of Felix Cooper and a group of friends rode their mountain bikes to the summit of Helvellyn.
Felix decided to undertake this massive physical and mental challenge for CALM after losing two close friends from the northern bike racing circuit to suicide. This is a huge thing for any 11-year-old to deal with, let alone decide it was up to him to lead a charge to change the stigma around suicide and mental health.
Felix chose two other incredible young humans to help him achieve his quest to get people talking. Young rippers Emilia Wood and Joe Cooper joined him at the foot of Helvellyn’s dramatic slopes.
On the day, the Lake District threw everything at the riding crew; freezing lashing rain, 70mph winds and such steep slippy faces that even pushing the bike became near impossible at times. Felix, supported by his friends and family, stuck two fingers up to Mother Nature, gritted their teeth, and inch by inch conquered the summit. It was so windy and wild at the summit that Felix struggled to keep hold of his bike.
The riders showed true grit and determination. Felix and his friends are spreading the message that opening up and asking for help is the way forward and that there’s absolutely no shame in being honest. We all struggle at points and all have mental health. With the help of friends and openness we truly can help each other.
For Felix his escape is his bike, and holy moly he’s good on it! He flew down the switchbacks of Helvellyn keeping up with the fastest men at the front with real style and poise. Not only that, but he and the crew raised nearly £3,000 – crucial funds that help keep CALM’s web chat and phone line open and saving 2 lives every single day.
While Felix, Emilia and Joe lead the challenge, it was a true team effort, and a massive mention has to go to Ride Bikes for all their support, Simon Rodger for carrying the biggest first aid pack ever made, Will Frazer for guiding the group and keeping us safe — especially when the wind threatened to blow us all off the mountain. Finally Chris Morrison for shooting the film and not losing the drone in the wind!
Felix and his ace crew are the future of mental health awareness –leading the way by smashing the archaic stigma of shame and anxiety for others and showing that together we are stronger. There’s always someone to talk to, and even a simple thing like riding your bike can save lives.
Inspired by Felix’s next level passion and determination? Want to join #TeamCALM and lead the movement against suicide? Head here for more ways to get involved.
Words by Marcus Chapman
Video by Chris Morrison
Edited by Billy Johnson