Staff from a Reading-based housebuilder hit the road for a unique challenge to raise awareness about the issue of suicide among young people.
A team of employees from the Thames Valley region of Vistry Group have successfully completed their leg of the nationwide Vistry Voyage – an epic journey to support suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
Hundreds of Vistry employees from the company’s various regional offices across the country are taking part in the challenge, carrying a commemorative book of awareness 1,163 miles from the North East of England to Cornwall while travelling by various forms of human-powered transport.
The Thames Valley leg of the challenge took the book on a 62-mile journey from Marlborough to Windsor, with participants completing five different sections on bike or foot.
Vistry Thames Valley managing director Trevor Wicks cycled the first part of the route from Marlborough to Kintbury, with operations director Lance Else riding the next stage to Aldermaston.
Land manager James Davis then cycled to the region’s head office in Reading, from where a group of employees walked the two miles down to Sunning Golf Club. Senior land manager Fiona Harrison completed the final – and longest – section of the journey by bike to Windsor Castle where she passed the book of awareness to colleagues from Vistry Partnerships London.
Trevor Wicks, managing director of Vistry Thames Valley, said: “I’m immensely proud of my team for tackling this leg of the Vistry Voyage and for carrying the commemorative book on its journey across our region. I was especially pleased that we managed to complete the challenge ahead of schedule, with some excellent times posted by our cyclists.
“It was extremely heart-warming to see so many of our people keen to support the event. I’d like to thank everyone who took part, as well as those who volunteered to pick up and collect the cyclists. A special mention must also go to our design and planning manager Caroline Belmont who joined the walk despite being eight months pregnant!
“We’ve been supporting Papyrus in a number of ways this year, but this is the biggest event vistry has organised in aid of the charity. The housebuilding industry has one of the highest suicide rates of all the professions, so this is a cause that is extremely close to our hearts.”
All staff members who take part in the Vistry Voyage are personally signing the commemorative book and money is also being raised for Papyrus throughout the six-week journey.
Papyrus is dedicated to the prevention of suicide, which is the biggest killer of people aged 35 and under in the UK. The charity provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide and anyone worried about a young person through its helpline, HOPELINEUK.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, more than 1,400 construction workers took their own lives between 2011 and 2015. The suicide rate for the industry is estimated at more than three times the national average for men.
For more information about the Vistry Voyage, visit www.vistrygroup.co.uk
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