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Blue Light Hike raises £16,000

05 Dec 2023

British Transport
Police Federation
05 Dec 2023

Blue Light Hike raises £16,000

The not-for-profit organisation, PTSD999, has received a cash boost of £16,000 which will help to fund mental health training and support for emergency service workers.

Stuart Cowan, Chair of BTP Federation, and Gary Thwaite, CEO of Civil Nuclear Police Federation, raised the huge sum by walking from the Lake District to London in just 14 days during the summer.

The Blue Light Hike saw Stuart and Gary set off from Cockermouth in Cumbria - home of CNP Federation - on 25 July. Two weeks and 500 kilometres later, the officers arrived in West Dulwich in London where BTP Federation is based.

The pair have presented a cheque to former British Transport Police officer, Gary Hayes, who co-founded PTSD999 to support emergency services workers with their mental health.

Gary Hayes said: "I would like to express our sincere gratitude for this amazing donation, which will ensure that we can continue to deliver our ongoing training needs to the emergency services nationally.

"These courses are essential in helping us to help those working in challenging environments to recognise their own and their colleagues' strengths and weaknesses around mental health and wellbeing, and ultimately the general public who often find themselves in times of crises.

"This support will and already has made a real difference in our ability to serve our emergency service workers and close family members. We look forward to a continued partnership with the British Transport Police Federation and Civil Nuclear Police Federation and their members."

Stuart Cowan and Gary Thwaite encountered appalling weather conditions and suffered aches, pains, and blisters during their hike but were buoyed up by messages of support. Alongside well wishes from the Prince and Princess of Wales, the officers heard from colleagues who are struggling with their mental health.

Stuart Cowan said: "A big part of this challenge was to raise awareness of the impact of mental health on our colleagues. By the nature of their work, BTP officers experience high levels of trauma and the annual assault stats also make for difficult reading. I will continue to push for better support services for officers and ensure the Federation does all it can to support colleagues."

Gary Thwaite said: "During the hike we spoke a lot about our own challenges and those we have seen our members face. We are delighted to have raised such a lot of money and we're grateful to everyone who supported us, but we are determined to keep these conversations going and advocate for better mental health awareness, training and support in our respective forces."

For more information on the work of PTSD999, visit https://www.ptsd-999.com/ and follow the organisation on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).