THE co-founder of the borough’s premier event is appearing in a new video raising awareness of mental health.

Marcus Chapman of the Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley cycling sportive is part of a new video series from UK charity CALM and online fitness brand Level Fitness, Level Headed.

The series shares the inspiring stories of four individuals who turned to physical fitness to manage their mental health after their lives were impacted by suicide.

Through interviews and first-hand accounts, the series explores the ways in which these individuals have used exercise during difficult periods in their lives, both to improve their mental health and to become part of a community where they can talk openly about their feelings.

The first video introduces Marcus who set up the Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley cycling sportive in honour of his friend Nelson Pratt who died from suicide.

Nelson, a professional Olympic snowboarding coach, was passionate about cycling and Marcus started the annual event as a way to encourage people to talk about their own mental health. The event now attracts over 1,000 participants and in 2018 the funds raised helped prevent over 675 suicides.

Marcus said: “I feel very honoured to feature in this series and to be able to tell Nelson’s story. Nelson was a truly incredible guy; his spirit lives on through the event and all the amazing people that come and ride for us.

“Cycling and talking has without doubt helped me deal with Nelson’s death and improved my mental health, and now it’s incredible to watch other people feel the same benefits. Suicide is still the single biggest killer of young men, and this has to change.

“If Nelson’s story and our event has saved one life, it’s all been worthwhile. Ride on Nelly.”

Simon Gunning, chief executive of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), said: “We’re delighted to partner with Jungle Creations and Level Fitness to explore the link between physical and mental health. Physical activity is great for our wellbeing and it also has the power to bring together communities of like-minded people and connect our supporters – online and offline – through their interests and in a way that’s conducive to good health.

“We’re sure that through telling such powerful stories across the Level Headed campaign, we’ll be able to reach and inspire many to try a new activity or event with CALM.”