INTREPID staff from two fashion stores in Wrexham are getting on their bikes to support a campaign which aims to prevent men taking their own lives.
Suicide is now the single biggest killer of men aged 20 to 45 in the UK and in 2013 male suicide accounted for a staggering 78 per cent of all those who died by their own hand.
And with the grim fact in mind, men’s fashion giant Topman at Eagles Meadow shopping centre has selected the campaign group CALM, which has pledged to put a halt to the death toll, as its chosen charity for 2015/16.
CALM – it stands for the Campaign Against Living Miserably – exists to prevent male suicide. It takes over 40,000 calls each year to its free, confidential helpline.
The registered charity also runs a website and magazine dedicated to changing what it sees as a culture that prevents men in crisis seeking help when they need it.
Another of CALM’s aims is to push for changes in policy and practice so that suicide is more effectively prevented.
Thirteen members of staff – both men and women – from Topman and its sister store Topshop at Eagles Meadow are now saddling up to raise cash for CALM with a sponsored bike ride.
But although they plan to notch up as many miles as possible from what they are calling their Spinathon, the riders won’t be budging outside the Topman store as they’ll be pedalling up the pounds aboard an exercise bike being brought in especially for the challenge.
Topman manager Emma Pashley said: “We all think that CALM is a really good cause and we’re delighted that it’s the current chosen charity of the company.
“It’s a shocking fact that so many suicides each year in the UK are men in the prime of their lives from the ages 25 to 40, which actually covers our own customer base.
“Throughout the day on Friday October 2, from 9.30am until 6pm, members of the team from the two stores, including myself, will be taking it in turns to pedal away on the bike.
“We might also do the same thing the day after, on the Saturday from 9am until 6pm, depending on whether we have any strength left!”
Emma added: “We haven’t set any target in miles for the Spinathon but we are aiming to raise at least £250 from our efforts, so we’re hoping to get as much support from our customers as possible.
“All those taking part are in training at the moment but some are fitter than others.
“The one who should have no problem with all the pedalling is Jess Wills. She runs regular spin classes at two local fitness centres. I do one of her local classes but I’m no real expert on the bike.
“Meanwhile, the exercise bike is for our Spinathon is being provided by Jade Williams, a team member within the store.
“We’re all just aiming to do the best we can for what is a really good cause.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “I would like to wish them all the best in raising money for this important charity. It is wonderful to think their efforts could help save somebody’s life. Nothing could be more worthwhile.”
For more information on the CALM campaign, go to https://www.thecalmzone.net, or call the helpline on 0800 58 58 58 which is open 5pm until midnight throughout the year.