A PUNISHING spinathon challenge has seen a Fochabers fundraiser get to within touching distance of her target.

Amy Baillie cycled for 10 hours at an Inverness mental health facility to raise money for mental health charity Penumbra. Picture: Becky Saunderson

Student nurse Amy Baillie (30), cycled for 10 straight hours – equivalent to a 120-mile ride – on an exercise bike at a mental health facility in Inverness on Sunday, July 25, to raise money for Penumbra.

Her target is set at £2000 and thanks to her mammoth cycle her total now stands at over £1500.

However, it was not just effects of the endurance rise she had to battle during her marathon cycle.

Amy said: “When I started the ride it was quite cool but by 2pm it was roasting and I still had another four and a half hours to go.

“I got quite badly sunburned even though I applied suncream and some of the residents poured water over a couple of times to try and keep me cool.

“All of the residents took a turn to ride with me on another exercise bike – I wouldn’t have been able to have done it without them and the staff.

“It was very emotional when I finished, it was just brilliant. I think the residents got a lot out of it as well. Some of them were frightened of the bike at first but once they actually got on it they found it wasn’t so bad. They had done something they thought they couldn’t do.”

Tackling mental health issues and in particular the stigma which still surrounds them today is a passion for Amy.

“I want to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health,” she continued.

“There’s still a huge stigma connected to it.

“If you broke and arm or a leg nobody would call you weak but if you say you’re depressed or anxious all of a sudden you’re weak.

“You should seek help if you’re struggling, don’t leave it too late. mental illness can be crippling.”

Having worked with mental health patients herself, Amy said that she understands the added burden the Covid pandemic and lockdowns have brought with them.

Her fundraiser for the charity closes on August 6 and donations can be made via https://www.facebook.com/donate/2990282751194717/4616031408431707/

Amy is already planning her next fundraiser for the charity.

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