4th October 2018: A local GP who cycled 980 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats will continue his efforts to promote a happier and more compassionate Northamptonshire.

David Smart, 57, GP Partner at Leicester Terrace Health Care Centre is well known for driving many leading well-being and happiness projects, and completed the gruelling 9-day Deloitte ‘Ride Across Britain’ last month to raise awareness and funds for the county’s mental health organisations.

Almost £1,000 has been donated through David’s Just Giving page for Mental Health Northants Collaborative (MHNC) - a body made up of 12 voluntary and independent mental health charities and organisations including Teamwork Trust, Daylight Centre, Northampton & District Mind, Relate and many others – and with the challenge now over, David hopes to double the money raised and get more people signed up to the national Action for Happiness pledge and raise awareness of the 10 keys to happier Living (the first letter of these spell GREAT DREAM).

“The ‘Ride Across Britain’ was the hardest thing I have ever done – the immense hills, camping with several hundred other people and sleep deprivation just added to the challenge,” said David, who rode alongside two GP colleagues, Dr Karim Khan and Dr Nas Choudhury. The fourth member of their team, nurse consultant and mental health trainer, Dr Mike Scanlan was unable to complete the challenge after sustaining neck injuries following a fall on the first day.

David added: “Despite the smiles at the end, it was a difficult journey and what happened to Mike on day one is proof that you never know what is round the corner in life.

“Like many people who battle mental health issues, the bike ride was a masterclass in determination and resilience. All the participants had to overcome huge mental barriers to succeed, even Mike carried on cycling for 15 miles despite his fractures.

“The Ride Across Britain was the first step to get people listening – my efforts to promote the importance of mindfulness, well-being and happiness projects I am involved in won’t just stop now it’s over. Initiatives like the Action for Happiness happy café network where people can access helpful well-being courses and resources and also the Action for Happiness website where people make a pledge to try to create more happiness in the world around them are make a real difference to people’s lives. ”

David’s goal is to get more people in Northamptonshire signed up to the pledge than any other county in the UK.

“I think it would be amazing if there were more people Northamptonshire were committed to promoting a happier and more compassionate county. Signing up to the Action for Happiness pledge is a small step towards that goal.”

A Northamptonshire charity, Teamwork Trust – which supports adults with mental health needs, learning and physical disabilities – is the lead member of the Mental Health Northants Collaborative. John Bruce, the charity’s strategic director said: “We are fully behind David’s efforts to raise awareness of the work that the MHNC member organisations do to support emotional well-being, progression, development and recovery. As a charity we are delighted to have such a passionate advocate.”

Follow David on Twitter - @SmartWellbeing_

Donate visit - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/drdavidsmart

To sign up to the Action for Happiness pledge - http://www.actionforhappiness.org/take-action/take-the-action-for-happiness-pledge

Follow Action for Happiness - https://www.facebook.com/NorthantsAction4Happiness/

Information on 10 keys to happier living - http://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living