A team of cyclists from Tong Garden Centre raised over £6,500 for West Yorkshire mental health charities, ‘Luke's Lads' and ‘Butterflies Mental Health' when they tackled a challenging 80k ride recently.

On 23rd May, the team of 15, including directors, staff, suppliers and friends, set off from Slingsby near Malton in North Yorkshire. The hilly route took them over the North York Moors and included the highs of Blakey Ridge and the lows of Rosedale valley.

Tong Garden Centre's managing director, Mark Farnsworth explained the rationale for the ride: "For the last few years we have put a team together to tackle the Tour de Yorkshire sportive which has sadly been cancelled again due to the pandemic. Having missed one year, we didn't want to miss another, particularly as our charity this year is Luke's Lads and sister group, Butterflies who support young men and women in the local area with mental health issues.

"Awareness of mental health has risen significantly over the last year and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters, both financially and in their feedback about the choice of charity."

Luke's Lads was set up in memory of Luke Naylor who took his own life after finding it difficult to reach out and talk about his mental health. The charity encourages and supports men to talk about their mental health, and they also use exercise as a way to help deal with challenges. The success of Luke's Lads prompted the creation of sister charity, Butterflies Mental Health to help young women in a similar way.

Luke's Lads and Butterflies are based in the same Batley venue in Jo Cox House. Both groups are supported by the charity TCD - Tackling social isolation in the Community through Diverse activities.