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Famous 4 point 5 - Thames challenge 100km

5 team members

Challenge complete

Fundraising for this challenge has ended so we're no longer accepting donations. Thanks to everyone who supported this challenge.

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

Team story

[p]Hello![/p][p]Thank you for reading this and, if we dare assume, for sponsoring us too! LOL!! We’ve kept our team story as brief as possible, outlining why these fab four friends, and a son, have teamed up to fundraise for Riverside, their little local Mental Health Charity. [/p][p]In the simplest of terms, each one of us has either personally battled with mental health or has supported someone that has been ill, so it is a cause close to our hearts. Riverside Counselling has depended on grants and small donations for over 30 years, whilst offering help to anyone that needs it. On a means tested fee, it means everyone has access to help if and when they require it. [/p][p]A member of our team has been depending on their help for a substantial amount of time due to battling with depression and grief. This prompted these bonkers four point five friends to team together to raise much needed funds for Riverside, to help raise their profile, and to give the charity the recognition it truly deserves. [/p][p]For further information about the members of the team please see the mini bios below.[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]NICKY ANDREWS - Kit Kat[/b][/p][p]I was formally diagnosed with Clinical Depression in September 2018 after several years avoiding the GP! What a muppet!!! My mental health is something I have struggled to admit to, especially to those outside my close circle, but I'm appreciating the more I talk, the more people have admitted they too have struggled at some point in their lives. If there is a day and age for Mental Health to lose the taboo, it's now. [/p][p]I started support with Riverside in May, after a close friend recommended them. The rest, as they say, is history. I have started on this journey with them and know I'll be with them for some time yet. I can not emphasise enough how much I value the support this little local charity has given me. Its a roller coaster ride but I'm trying to stay focused on the love and support my family and friends are giving me to deal with the challenges therapy brings. My Team are just an example of the amazing support I have.[/p][p]I discovered that Riverside is celebrating 30 Years this year!!! But unfortunately, with government cut backs on funding and grants, they are still struggling to survive. Hence my decision to help them too. If you could sacrifice a glass of wine, a pint of beer or your Friday Night Take away to support us, we would be immensely grateful! Updates of training and finishing line promised....no matter how bad we all look! LOL![/p][p]Love and Best Wishes,[/p][p]Nicky xx[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]ALESSIO BALDASSARRI - Da Godfather[/b][/p][p]Ciao! I’m the Italian member of this team, born in Italy but I made Henley my home 25 years ago. I’m a well known figure in town, mostly due to my love for socialising but also through my hair salon, La Medusa in the centre of town.[/p][p]In my line of business we spend a lot of time listening to our clients, building up relationships over a period of time. Frequently we are able to identify when our clients are struggling with mental health. It can be triggered by daily life such as losing a loved one, redundancy, family break ups etc. Being there to listen is important, but more importantly, charities like Riverside offer the professional support that people need. I have seen first hand that all walks of life can be affected by mental health and I have seen the amazing support Riverside provides. [/p][p]On a personal level, I am taking on this walk to support my dear friend who has started therapy with Riverside. Through her, I am closely witnessing the support this charity offers not only individuals but also the community as a whole. [/p][p]So, training plan is in place, with many good walks behind me already…… I’m ready for this challenge! Its also a good reason for investing in another pair of trainers and some new, rather trendy sportswear! Well I am a hairdresser after all! xx[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]CHARLIE WILLIAMS - Half Pint[/b][/p][p]I am Nicky's son, I'm 14 years old and I have decided to walk the last quarter of the challenge to support mum. She has been quite ill with depression and I know that she is getting help with the charity we are walking for. I hate seeing mum when she's ill but understand that one day she will be better, be her old self, and love life again. I've seen how serious it can be when people don't get the help they need. My uncle lost his best friend a few years ago and I've never forgotten it and how much it upset everyone. So please, support me to help my mum and others. xxx[/p][p][br][/p][p][b]TOM LOVETT - The Hulk[/b][/p][p]I’m a fully qualified electrician and I set up my business, TA Property & Electrical Services, here in Henley, 18months ago. A few months later, I was fortunate enough to move here. I love the town, the people I’ve met socially and through work, many I can now call friends. [/p][p]I've decided to walk for Riverside because of the support they’ve provided a dear friend. As such, I have come to understand that mental health can affect anyone. I was impressed that here in Henley, we are fortunate to have a charity that ensures everyone can get the help they need, no matter their financial standing. [/p][p]On a personal note, I’ve just given up football after a 30yr career and fancied a proper challenge. So when I heard the group was getting together to walk a small 100km, I jumped at the chance to join! Best of all...I finish metres from home! [/p][p][br][/p][p][b]SOPHIE MAJER – Squibble[/b][/p][p]Update 01st Oct 2019: Hi everyone! Just a wee update...... [/p][p]Ultra-Challenge result: The team and I completed the 100km walk on 7/8th Sept in 19 hours and came 740th out of over approx. 3500 participants. Not bad considering most of the participants before us were the elite runners. However, the challenge was not about placements or a race for us even though we put in a lot of vital training and preparation. We were very much focused on communication, teamwork and what/who we are raising awareness for; pushing ourselves mentally and physically past our previous limitations and equally supporting those around us along the way. There were times of tears from fatigue and reflection, severe pain from recent/historic injury, all the while having to remain focused. The night-time segment in particular was extremely challenging to avoid disorientation whilst tackling a rough terrain; 5 1/2 hours of that (not being able to mind wonder at all) followed by an extreme temperature drop by the time we got to the next check point. A couple of us went into a pre-hypothermic state which gave us all an opportunity to get cosy and have a cuddle under a shiny alien like blanket. I rarely shy away from giving my friends a good old bear hug however, considering by this point (at the 78km mark) I smelt just as bad as the farming livestock we had walked past, a small whiff and my teammates managed to miraculously warm up quite quickly. [/p][p]The great bits: The camaraderie…..my sides were hurting for laughing so much and we made new friends along the way. There was an amazing energy throughout. Our support team who kept us warm, fed and watered, thank you! Charlie joining us for the last 25km was definitely the highlight. We were knackered beyond belief, in agony and where our sense of humour took a nosedive, Charlie was the one who re-energised us by making us laugh until the end. [/p][p]The Stats: We walked approx 146,000 steps (a bit more for Alessio – he’s closer to the ground to the point where there’s a time difference) at a pace of approx. 6.1kph and burned just over 7000 calories each. We gained about 20 blisters between us, shin splints, knees & hip injuries and the sad loss of one big toenail; may it RIP. (My flatmate has been checking the cereal boxes since I announced that I had stored it ‘somewhere safe’…..;-) ) That’s one hell of a workout! [/p][p]Would any of us do it again? Absobloodylutely! We’ve all completed different types of challenges before (2 of us are semi-pro retired athletes – you’d think we’d be used to pushing our bodies to the limit) though, not like this. This challenge brought something very unique to the table in so many ways. The endurance and mental attributes we have gained from this experience is something that will stay with us. [/p][p]So, I have begun another challenge today, (October 1st) to continue raising awareness and funds on behalf of my teammates, families and Services in hope for them to continue gaining access provided by the MH services.[/p][p]It is a swimming challenge of 50km (31.25 miles) which calculates to 2000 laps of a 25m pool. In order to complete this month-long challenge, I will be swimming every other day, approx.. 120 to 150 laps in each session without stopping. [/p][p]At this point and on behalf of the team and I, we wish to say thank you for the support you have shown us all and continue to do so. [/p][p][br][/p][p]August 2019: Hi y’all! Nicky told me about this challenge earlier in May and by the third double Bloody Mary, I signed myself up. The things I do for a drink! I am completing this amazing challenge (as well as a 30km and 40km swim) to support my teammate who has suffered with depression thus making it a deeply personal journey both individually and to complete together. Nicky and I have known each other for 30 years so, for the love of a strong friendship, it’s a no brainer really and an honour to be alongside her and the team on the day. I take on many challenges for causes I believe in, but also because I am a bit gutsy/bonkers however, most importantly in this case, to continually raise awareness of various forms of Mental Health and equally, the services available which are so greatly underfunded during these last several years of economic fluctuation. We cannot control what the government does or doesn’t do to keep up to their promise; we can, however, do our bit by acting as a beacon (or fog horn in my case) to keep these Counselling Services (in particular, Riverside) afloat for the sake of our friends, families, our emergency services and armed forces personnel. [/p][p]Several years ago, I lost 2 colleagues and dear friends; both former MoD who took their own lives having suffered with PTSD. They were extraordinary individuals in their own right who demonstrated a ‘get on with it’ attitude so, it was a deeply upsetting shock to receive that call no one wants to nor be expecting. I often wonder, what if they had the correct support available for them and to have the choice to receive that support illuminating the cloud of secrecy, judgement and stigma at the time…….? No wonder they call this illness the silent killer. [/p][p]Awareness has improved recently, services have been put in place, but access are still relatively slow. It takes far too long to get from referral stage to a diagnosis, then onto therapy referrals predominantly due to lack of funding and poor communication which results in sufferers who are trying to get better, instead, slip between the gaps. I have been volunteering closely within steering groups as a patient access communication liaison and advocate (not my day job), please feel free to contact me should you have any queries or even barriers. I shall do what I can to try and point you in the right direction. [/p][p]I too was formally diagnosed with Clinical Depression and PTSD from 2014 having suffered traumas. Counselling services have given me the opportunity to harness my experiences then flip them in order to embrace a positive platform to help others; and just as importantly, to love life again…..back to my old cheeky self.[/p][p]It sounds like a bit of a cliché; however, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the dedication and types of therapy the services provide. Initially, I made a lot of excuses not to seek help even though I knew I needed it and stupidly, ignoring my friends and daughters’ advice, thus, becoming an absolute pain in the proverbial to live with. My favourite excuse was….? Busy mum, plus, if I bury myself in work, all my problems will go away. I carried a hard ‘get a grip’ attitude. I still do in cases where I see people sitting on their bums expecting everyone else to do the hard work for them. [/p][p]Having received therapy and come through the other side, fortunately, I have the mindset to realise that I had made the mistake of not dealing with it correctly and sooner; and I have forgiven myself for it. Thanks to that therapy, I am, for better word, ‘fixed’. It has been so effective that I can in fact now talk about my past freely, with very little in the way of feeling upset or anxious. I cannot express enough how good it feels and to say that! I still get tail ends depression though equally glad to say that they’re now far and few between. Without the MH services, I wouldn’t have been able to self-manage so effectively. Crucially, I don’t ignore my feelings resulting in me being far more intuitive than I used to be. [/p][p]Reaching for quick feel good solutions are unfortunately, very short lived and can have a negative impact on someone’s mental state. I’m not going to sugar coat it; going through the stages of therapy is tough and requires commitment, however, the result is long-lasting and worth it! Having a good network of support is key. Instead of avoiding the trauma, in order to overcome it, part of the treatment is to face it head on until it desensitises into just a form of upsetting memories…..anyone who has suffered, will get this. Similarly, to how you would desensitise a fear or phobia. Most importantly, don’t stop. Why? For you and your family, whichever form they come in. Thinking about yourself is not a selfish act during times of depression especially when you’re looking at ways to heal. A good friend describes it as ‘Healthy Self Interests’....puts a positive spin on it. Besides, you’re no good to anyone unless you help yourself first and whatever others think of you in a negative format is none of your business. [/p][p]As soon as I became open and honest about my depression, I was hit with an unexpected flood of love and support from friends all over the world which has been extended further when Nicky and I announced that we are taking part in this challenge to raise money that is so, desperately needed to support others using Riverside. My friends became my family during the darkest of days and the counselling services became my lifeline. This challenge is my way of giving something back to say thank you for always being by my side.[/p][p]To my daughter……sweetheart, thank you for standing by me whilst you were dealing with your own pain. Your strength amazes me. I'm so proud of you. We got through it... yay! I love you. [/p][p]To my brother…..this one is for you too. Love you, Dude. [/p][p]Meanwhile, think of us all with our taped feet, sweaty socks, mozzie bitten legs and stinking of cowpat every time we step…oh, *$^+! [/p][p]Love Sophs xxx[/p][p][br][/p]
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Share their story


Oct 15, 2019


What a great thing to do! Proud of you! And feeling very inspired!

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

Sep 17, 2019

Jean Ross and family

Well done to all the team

£200.00 plus £50.00 Gift Aid

Sep 12, 2019

Mark Cove

Well done Tom and Team, I bet a foot spa never looked more tempting!

£5.00 plus £1.25 Gift Aid

Sep 11, 2019

Terry Dudeney

A great cause to support. Well done to you all.

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

Sep 10, 2019


Well done. We met on the walk at the 5km mark when my brain wasn't in gear and I couldn't work out the % or that Alessio was Italian. I'm the crazy Italian girl. Loved meeting you all, it was a killer of a walk. Well done for taking on the challenge x

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Sep 9, 2019

Patricia Ascot

Superb - well done Sophie and team! What an amazing achievement!


Sep 9, 2019

Brian Walmsley

Well done Tom et al! From Brian, Jo, James & Isey

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

Sep 8, 2019

Helen Shipston

Well done for today Sophie and to all the team. Amazing stuff. Enjoy some relaxation now!

£5.00 plus £1.25 Gift Aid

Sep 8, 2019

Helen Shipston

Well done for today Sophie and to the rest of the team! Amazing stuff! Now relax!

£5.00 plus £1.25 Gift Aid

Sep 8, 2019

Liz Alexander-Cook

Amazing!! Well done to all you and for a great charity and cause. You truly deserve a large glass of something cold 😊 xxxx

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Nichola Andrews

Nichola Andrews

Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams

Sophie Majer

Sophie Majer

Alessio Baldassarri

Alessio Baldassarri