Disabled suicide survivor from Northampton becomes first to complete 96km of Ridgeway National Trail in powered wheelchair

‘Disabilities may dictate “how” we do things, but not “what” we do and it is this belief, which keeps me alive’

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 2:26 pm

A campaigner for male mental health and disability has become the first person to complete 96km of the Ridgeway National Trail in a off-road mobility chair.

Nick Wilson, from Northampton, and his team completed the challenge over the weekend of June 18/19 using a mobility chair provided by his sponsors, MyBility.

They travelled 48km from the Lord Wantage Monument in Wantage, to Barbury Castle in Wroughton, within a time of 11hrs 30mins on Saturday 18th and returned in a time of 12hrs on Sunday 19th completing the 96km, as they paid tribute to the 96 males who die by suicide every week in the UK.

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Nick Wilson and his support team after completing the Ridgeway National Trail challenge

Nick, from Northampton, attempted to take his own live six years ago and battled with suicidal ideation throughout 2021, as a result of experiencing loneliness, mental illness and crippling chronic pain, caused by a declining spinal injury, which has led to him becoming reliant on a wheelchair for mobility.

“I truly believe in pushing boundaries, challenging the mindsets of ourselves and others, and demonstrating how having a “disability”, be this physical or mental, needn’t mean a person cannot be successful or thrive in life. Disabilities may dictate “how” we do things, but not “what” we do and it is this belief, which keeps me alive.”

He is raising money for Northamptonshire MIND and smaller mental health charities, Ripple Suicide Prevention, Sean’s Place and The Jordan Legacy, whose founders lost a son or brother to suicide, however, the aim is to raise awareness of three key areas he has personally battled with over the past year – male suicide, loneliness and disability.

This follows on from his last challenge in 2021, where he completed a huge 385-mile cycle ride and has now raised over £125,000 through tackling such challenges, in addition to others such as; a half marathon in Basrah, Iraq and a 1000mile cycle ride to commemorate 60th anniversary of D-Day.

The terrain proved challenging for Nick and his team

He said: “I truly believe in pushing boundaries, challenging the mindsets of ourselves and others, and demonstrating how having a “disability”, be this physical or mental, needn’t mean a person cannot be successful or thrive in life. Disabilities may dictate “how” we do things, but not “what” we do and it is this belief, which keeps me alive.”

Fundraising and communications lead at Northamptonshire Mind, Nick Tite, said: “Nick is a true advocate for mental health and we are truly grateful he is helping to raise money for Mind in Northamptonshire.”

People can donate via Nick’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/96km-for-96guys

Nick Wilson and some of his support team during the Ridgeway National Trail challenge