Hurstpierpoint train driver takes on 55-mile cycle challenge for mental health charity

A train driver from Hurstpierpoint is taking part in the London to Brighton Cycle Ride 2021 to raise money for a mental health charity.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 5:39 pm

Andy Johnson, 51, is taking on the 55-mile challenge on September 19 in aid of the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

He has made the announcement as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10-16) and is hoping to raise awareness about the issues surrounding mental health and suicide.

“The pandemic has had a negative effect on many people’s mental health, which is why, together with other colleagues, I started thinking about how to help,” said Andy.

Hurstpierpoint train driver Andy Johnson. Picture: Peter Alvey

He said that people working on the railway often encounter vulnerable people using the service and that sometimes they meet people who are considering taking their own life.

“That’s why we’ve decided to raise money for CALM,” said Andy, adding that the charity offers information, advice and support to desperate people who feel they have nowhere else to turn.

Andy said his team of six drivers has already raised more than 60 per cent of its target and aims to get as many donations as possible before the challenge begins.

Andy added that he is proud to be part of GTR’s internal LGBT+ Network, which aims to provide a safe space for people to keep in touch and talk about problems during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has really affected the gay community because there’s been no social events, physical support groups or face-to-face contact and that can be really tough if you’re struggling,” Andy said.

Andy began his railway career as a senior steward for British Rail but left to pursue job opportunities in other sectors of the transport industry.

He returned to rail after a 25-year hiatus.

His main role now is as a train driver but he is also a health and wellbeing champion at the Brighton depot.

To donate to Andy’s cycle challenge visit justgiving.com/team/traincrewterrors.