55-mile annual Granite Challenge in support of Downpatrick’s Men Shed

55-mile annual Granite Challenge in support of Downpatrick’s Men Shed

2 October 2019

ACTION Mental Health is encouraging cyclists to take part in the annual Granite Challenge this weekend to help support the Men’s Shed in Downpatrick.

The 55-mile charity cycle will go through the Mourne Mountains on Sunday with all funds raised used to support the local branch of the Men’s Shed which provides a social hub and support network for men over 50.

The Men’s Shed provides a relaxed and friendly environment where men form new friendships, share skills and learn new ones. It also offers members a positive way to look after their mental health. 

Local member, Terry Murphy, is encouraging eligible men to join the Men’s Shed, explaining that it’s “very, very beneficial”.

He continued: “You learn different skills and different crafts, from wood-carving and stained glass, to mosaic work. I enjoy my fellow shedders because without them there’s no shed.

“We all benefit from each other and, as a group, together we all benefit from the support of the Granite Challenge. It’s an amazing community fundraising effort and we all really appreciate the people who come out to participate.”

The Downpatrick Shed is annually supported by the Granite Challenge which begins in the town, following a route through Tyrella and Dundrum, along coastal roads through Newcastle, towards Annalong at the foot of the Mournes, before riders commence their ascent through the Mournes past Silent Valley, climbing to Spelga Dam. 

From there, it’s downhill toward home, through the pretty village of Bryansford, then Maghera and Clough and finally back to Downpatrick. 

It’s a challenging route but the Granite Challenge benefits from the support of McConvey Cycles.

The event takes place just ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10 when Action Mental Health will host a variety of events across its services to mark the annual day when mental health issues come into sharp focus across the globe.

The charity’s chief executive, David Babington — who takes part in the annual challenge — said physical activity plays a huge role in keeping minds and bodies healthy.

“With as many as one in five people in Northern Ireland experiencing mental ill-health at some stage of their life, it’s important to remember that simple things such as cycling to work or walking the dog can really help to reduce stress and clear the mind,” he continued.

“As World Mental Health Day approaches we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute than hosting a large scale sporting event that unites the community in a show of support for those impacted by mental illness whilst also offering participants the chance to raise vital funds to support our work.”

Early Bird entrance fees start at just £20 plus Eventbrite fees, which includes a tea stop at Spelga where homemade tray bakes and sweet treats will be provided.

Spaces are limited and to register visit www.amh.org.uk and follow the links. Entries can also be made via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-granite-challenge-tickets-47219728479