Scouts raise £5K+ for suicide prevention charity in memory of their friend Lucas

Seven intrepid scouts joined together to cycle for 24 hours non-stop in a unique charity challenge.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 12:30 pm
Wyre Explorer Scouts Isaac Hill and Ben Walsh who led the fundraiser

The team from Wyre Explorer Scouts wanted to raise funds for the Papyrus Youth Suicide Prevention Charity and honour the memory of their fellow scout and friend Lucas Backhouse who took his own life at the age of 18.

Isaac Hill and Ben Walsh decided to organise a 24 hour indoor Bike-a-thon. Their determination to organise the fundraiser was strengthened by the knowledge that suicide is the biggest killer of young people under 35 in the UK.

Ben and Isaac, along with five Explorer Scouts from Garstang's Tankensuru Explorer Scout Unit, said they wanted to help ensure that as few people as possible have to face a young suicide in the future. The pair were joined by Ben Walsh, Isaac Hill, Austin Jewell, Ruari Watson, Paddy Willshaw, Jorge Pollard and Nathan Williams on their gruelling challenge.

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The scouts who took part in the marathon cycling challenge

The Bike-a-thon was held at the Garstang Scout Centre and four spin bikes were loaned by the Garstang YMCA.

David Sweetman, General Manager of Garstang YMCA ,said: “It is important to support these local events to ensure we take every opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and the very real difficulties our young people are facing in our communities today. I think they did great. It's a really good cause. To keep going on those bikes for 24 hours can't have been easy for them. ”

Matt Harwood, a media and communications team volunteer for West Lancashire Scouts, said it was a fine example of scouts serving their community. He said: "Over the course of 24 hours they covered a distance of over 800 miles - effectively the distance from John O'Groats to Land's End. It shows what scouts is all about. This is something the young people suggested and put together themselves."

A statement by West Lancashire Scouts paid tribute to Lucas, who died on October 16, noting: "Lucas was a hugely loved member of Wyre Scouts, popular in Explorer Scout Unit with both young people and leaders alike."

The scouts were fundraising in memory of fellow scout Lucas Backhouse (pictured)

The Bike-a-thon was launched by Lucas's mother and father Angela and Tony and two of his brothers Freddie and Joel.The next day Freddie and Joel returned with brother Isaac and all three joined in the cycling.

The scouts had initially hoped to raise £2,500 but are delighted to have passed the £5,000 mark. A JustGiving page is still open for donations - open the JustGiving page online and search for Wyre Scouts. A raffle and cake sale at the event raised some £970 and donationd were also invited at a carol service held in the scout hut. The Bike-a-thon took place on Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11.

Andrew Truelove, the Wyre District Explorer Scout Commissioner, said: "I am just immensely proud of how well they did in the event dealing with very little sleep, dealing with a very emotional topic. They just did the whole community proud and really are true scouts."

Supporters came and joined in the cycling throughout the marathon.

Andrew said that West Lancashire Scouts now intend to invest in mental health first aiders and will be asking Papyrus to train adult volunteers to raise awareness of young suicide.

* Papyrus, based in Warrington, is dedicated to the prevention of young suicide and says more than 200 schoolchildren take their lives each year. Its website says: "Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under 35 in the UK. Every year many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling. " Its advice is available for young people and those worried about young people.

* The Papyrus helpline entitled PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK can be contacted on 0800 068 4141 The charity can also be contacted by email at [email protected]

* For information about the help available see the Papyrus website here or at

* The Samaritans charity also seeks to prevent suicide and can be contacted on freephone number 116 123 or by email to [email protected] The phone line is answered round the clock, but it may take up to 24 hours for a response to an email.