Hugo shared so bravely with his peers, opening hearts and minds to his personal experiences of mental health. He said:  “reach out and talk – this seat should not be empty”. 

Mental health is such an broad and impersonal term. Referring generally to our cognitive and emotional functions, it seems to leave out the personal experience and its impact on our lives.  When you bring in your own experience it becomes real and tangible. 

We can begin by noticing the quality of our thoughts (negative, fast, blank, obsessive, compulsive, distracted, positive etc) and acknowledging our feelings (anger, sadness, excitement, fear, disgust, grief etc); this begins to build an inner landscape and resilience.

As Hugo says in his video, ‘it must be socially acceptable to discuss who you are’.  We must feel able to share coping mechanisms before becoming overwhelmed. Once we cross the line from mental well-being to mental illness we lose our curiosity and our ability to connect and regulate ourselves. 

I look forward to honouring Hugo’s legacy of #STRONGERTHANTHESTIGMA and raising awareness of how to keep your mental well-being in check.

Georgie is a psychotherapist (www.georgiemanners.co.uk)  with a particular interest in psychobiology which is the integration of the body and mind for transformation.

It’s good to talk, but not always easy…

It’s good to talk – this is an expression that most of us know and agree with, but sometimes we forget that it isn’t always that easy. As a therapist, wife and mother there have been moments when I wished I could turn on a switch to get the talking started, particularly when I was sure it was what they needed to do.

However, more often than not the moments when I may have felt it was ‘good to talk’ didn’t always fit with when the other person felt it was ‘good to talk’.   I have learnt over the years that those moments do not follow a set pattern, in fact they are often when you least expect them, as the courage to say those first words is not always easy to find.   

Many of you will have watched that amazing talk Hugo gave at Marlborough and I remember helping him put it together which made us both reflect on how it had started for him and that the most difficult part was talking.

PG Tips’ recent #cuppatogether campaign teamed up with Samaritans, Time to Change, The Big Lunch and Re-engage to combat loneliness and mental health issues by encouraging people from all over the UK to reach out to others for a cup of tea and a good old natter.

When Hugo first showed signs of depression, it was his body language that alerted me, it was like he folded in on himself and wanted to disappear into the back of the sofa he was sitting on. I would try to get him to talk, but with no luck until one night I was sitting on the end of his bed in the dark and he started telling me how he felt… Later when we both talked about that time, he told me that it was because he found it easier to tell me about these difficult feelings when he couldn’t see me, which also explained why he had stood just around the doorway into our kitchen when he told us about his attempted suicide.

It takes great courage and sometimes many attempts to be able to talk to someone. So those of us that say it is good to talk, must also ensure that we are available to listen as those first moments of courage can often be fleeting and missed if we don’t.

If you do find that it is too difficult to talk it may be worth trying to write it down either as a diary or a letter, but that’s another chat.

Amanda Yaxley – www.ayaxleycounselling.com

So what’s this cycling thing all about?

I think everyone single one of us knows that liberating feeling that comes from having your own 2 wheels. You control where you go, free from constraints, or at least for as long as you have energy in your legs!! Hugo loved this freedom and would often choose to take his bike places instead of using the car, even if it was a couple of hours away.

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realise fishing is stupid and boring.”

Desmond Tutu

Many people have rediscovered the love of cycling during lockdown. Taking it from an occasional thing one might have done on holiday, or riding the odd Boris Bike here and there to a full time hobby. But even with this you may not know what road cycling is all about, or how it can differ from mountain biking, gravel riding or touring. No, not all bikes are made equal!!

GCN’s YouTube channel has loads of useful guides and tips for all abilities.

For Ride4Hugo you will want to be on a road bike. Gravel bikes, mountain bikes and touring bikes are all fun, but for this you want something built for getting you from A-to-B with as little effort and as quickly as possible. This is where the road bike will come up trumps.

“To me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s raining or the sun is shining or whatever: as long as I’m riding a bike I know I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

Mark Cavendish – World Champion & multiple Tour de France stage winner

Road cycling is a weird and wonderful world, and like all of us you will learn from your own mistakes. Like unclipping before you come to a stop, so you don’t fall over at the traffic lights!! Give this video a watch to see some things you can find out from others’ experiences and avoid their mishaps!!

Hopefully you fall in love with road cycling in the way Hugo did and we hope to see you on the ride. Register your interest here.

We will be posting tips and advice on kit, training and other road cycling bits and bobs. However, we are here to help, so should you have any questions please get in contact on here, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Hugo’s Story

In 2017, Hugo stood up in front of 300 school friends at Marlborough College and talked about his personal battle with depression. It was an incredibly powerful talk that touched many people and started his life long mission to break down the stigma attached to Mental Health.

“I remember utter silence, everyone was so proud and in awe of Hugo being so open.”

Amelia Heard

He went on to complete a 150-mile bike ride through North Wales, where he raised £4,369 for Place2be, which was an amazing effort. The comments on his fundraising page are really touching, and showed just how much of an impact he had at such a young age.

“Hands down one of the most moving talks I’ve ever been to. He really was one of a kind.”

Will Farquhar

Ride4Hugo is a continuation of his amazing work, by not only raising funds and awareness of the amazing work that place2be do, but also Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance. Both of which, very sadly, played a major part at the end of his life.

“Feeling that someone finally understood how I was feeling.”

Peta Dixon

So please get involved or support us by sharing our story far and wide on social media. Together we can carry on his legacy.

Think we need a new target!!!

Having only gone live a week ago, we have already hit our initial target. Thank you so much to all those who have already generously donated. It is an incredible effort. Now onto bigger things.

We have also had loads of people express an interest in getting involved, which is so exciting. So a massive thank you to all of you. More information will be coming out in the summer, but if you are interested in getting involved please register. The more people the better.

Thank you again!!!

Minna’s walk passes £15K

We are so glad to say that Minna, Hugo’s Girlfriend, who was very badly wounded in the car accident is making an amazing recovery and this July she is walking 5 Miles for charity.

We know this may not seem like a long way but she is still recovering from a broken back and other injuries which currently prevent her from walking more than 15 minutes at a time.

This week she passed her fundraising total by over 1200% and currently stands at £18,530. With the average cost of an Air Ambulance call out being £3k, she has enabled 6 more missions to happen. Just an incredible effort.

Please sponsor her if you haven’t already: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/minna-walk