Stuart Bookatz is gearing up for the ride of a lifetime as he gets set for a 3,000 mile charity bike ride to raise awareness for mental health.

The 56-year-old took up cycling six years ago having taken part in a charity trek to Kilimanjaro and will be raising money in April, when he takes on the challenge, starting from the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California, to the Atlantic Ocean at St Augustine, Florida.

Now an avid cyclist who’s taken part in various rides, including from London to Paris and several 500-mile rides in California, Israel and Europe, he’s hoping to raise more than £250,000 from the challenge which will take 46 days. He said: “My brother Neil and I have supported many charities over the years, with Neil especially showing incredible generosity to worthy causes in the Jewish community. I became very involved with mental health due to personal reasons, having ended up becoming quite unwell, spending a couple of months in hospital.”

Raising money for seven charities, including Jewish Care and Chai Cancer in the UK and The Jewish National Fund and The Jewish Federation in the US, he says: “I’m no athlete and this will be 46 days of hard work, but I’m training hard, doing a lot of miles of preparation in Florida.

“People ask me “Why are you doing this bike ride?”, I tell them  I’ve also been an advocate for the awareness of mental health and have struggled with it, as well as some close family members.

“This bike ride gives me the opportunity to raise awareness and money for a very important cause, it enables me to thank the people who helped me through a tumultuous period and it helps to affirm a life goal of a spectacular bike ride.”

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