Walk ‘out of the darkness’ for health campaign

Samantha Robinson (MindWise), Noel McKee, Philip Scott, and Valerie Saunders (CHS).  INCT 12-726-CON
Samantha Robinson (MindWise), Noel McKee, Philip Scott, and Valerie Saunders (CHS). INCT 12-726-CON

A local man is encouraging people to follow the changing of the clocks this weekend and ‘walk out of the darkness’ as part of a new campaign.

Whitehead resident Noel McKee is working in partnership with Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke (CHS) and MindWise to highlight the importance of taking care of both your physical and mental health.

“It’s part of a year-long campaign called Healthy Body, Healthy Mind,” Noel explained.

“I’ve been a therapeutic counsellor in the community for many years, and what I’ve seen time and time again is that physical ailments can have a big impact on our mental health, and vice versa.

“I believe that good physical health can help us to be more resilient and help improve our mental health.”

As part of the overall movement, Noel has already completed a number of physical challenges, including a ‘bucket list’ marathon in Amsterdam last October to mark his 50th birthday.

“I’ve done a marathon swim which was 212 lengths of the pool in eight days, and recently we had a 12-hour spin cycle at Tesco,” he added.

“I’ll also be doing a marathon cycle in May.”

This week, the local man enjoyed some scenic spots in the province as he took on the first of “six marathon walks in six counties in six days.”

“This part of the campaign we’ve called ‘walking out of the darkness’ to link up with the clocks changing this weekend,” said Noel, a firefighter based at Whitla St station in north Belfast.

“It's a chance to leave winter behind and come out of the darkness."

And despite a stress fracture in his leg putting an early stop to Noel's marathon efforts on Wednesday, two colleagues stepped in to go the distance on his behalf.

Although mainly focused on raising awareness, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind also gives the opportunity for people to donate to either of the two charities involved.

For more information, visit the JustGiving page.