- Howard and Mark -

Howard & Mark's 60km Unicycle

Fundraising for Place2Be
raised of £2,000 target
by 70 supporters

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1040756
We deliver vital mental health services to children in schools across the UK



On July 23rd 2022 we will attempt to ride 60km from St Martha’s Hill (just outside Guildford) to Shoreham-on-Sea (next door to Brighton) via the South Down’s Cycle Way.

This would be a tough cycle… or perhaps a ridiculous run… or even an insane skip…

but it’s for certain a completely ridiculous unicycle.

AND, let’s be honest... you don’t ride on one wheel for ease, comfort or convenience?!


When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with a severe anxiety and panic attack disorder. I struggled for years and wished there was more effective help readily available for me.

During these teen years (in the 90s), mental health was not spoken about as widely as it is now. I felt ashamed and embarrassed by the fact I was struggling and didn’t want anyone else to know about my issues.

I was sent to a psycho-therapist to begin my long journey back to health.

After I got better (and discovering some highly effective methods of rapid change along the way) I vowed to help people to overcome their issues so that others wouldn’t have to suffer in the way I had done. AND, I also wanted to encourage others to become more open about asking for help and support.

Now, I have spent over 20 years working as one of the UK’s Leading Anxiety Experts helping everyone, from 10 year olds plus, to adults, become free from anxiety, yet I still felt I wasn’t doing as much as I could to help younger children.

So in November last year (2021) I released a book, “The Rustle of Leaves”, (a short rhyming tale) to help young children (5-9) understand how sometimes people can become afraid of things that really pose no threat. A book that parents can read their kids to help them begin a journey of becoming more psychologically aware of these important issues.

Last year, I became aware of CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH WEEK that was put together by the Charity PLACE2BE. And I wanted to find a way of supporting this important charity in helping spread mental health awareness amongst the young.


Well Mark is a startup CEO and fellow unicyclist.

And more importantly he is an old school friend (we used to unicycle and juggle together - see pic in gallery).

He was also one of the only friends I had back then that I felt able to confide in.

Mark was incredibly supportive at the time and to this day he still might not even realise the full extent to which I appreciated being able to share my issues with someone my own age who didn’t judge me or make feel ashamed.

Years later and we are still good friends and us attempting this ride together seems somehow poetic… he is still supporting me and this important cause as we tackle the “60km” on one wheel!


Well firstly why not?

Secondly, Mark and I have just turned 40 and some people have exclaimed, “60km on a unicycle… are you having a mid-life crisis?”

Well no… but we I think it’s fair to say we ARE having a “mid-life confidence”.

We have got to an age where we stop worrying about what people think and start doing the things we actually really want to do and if that’s riding a one-wheel beast then why not!

MARK'S STORY (Written by Mark):

I think it was probably a love of circus and tricks (originally inspired by the Roberts Brothers Circus in Roundhay Park c. 1986) that got me into unicycling.

I got my first unicycle in 1994 - a beautiful red Pashley (the same company that makes incredibly high-end delivery bikes). I had heard that there was only one bike shop in Leeds that stocked a unicycle and they only had one. I went with my Dad, saw it hanging on the wall and was in awe. My parents bought it for my 13th birthday.

Enjoying learning tricks and skills that eluded others meant that I grew to love being different. It gave me a confidence that was self-reliant - if I could perform a new feat, I had achieved, regardless of what others thought. It occasionally spilled over into flirting with the alternative (yet ironically conformist) fashion sense of the hippy juggling community - tie dye trousers were a favourite - but it gave me a thirst for self-challenge (no matter how irreverent the activity) and an appreciation of skill (in which I count spinning a toothbrush around your finger).

Howard and I are kindred spirits and we notched up a number of firsts despite the increasingly despairing teachers at school: juggling fire clubs in the playground (this was actually sanctioned by the school - Howard & Mark 1, Health & Safety 0); Howard juggling knives whilst standing on my shoulders, only to drop one past my face immediately after a teacher asked whether it was safe; and persuading the Deputy Head to attempt to spin a toothbrush around his finger, which for his chunky rugby-player fingers is utterly impossible. Cue much laughter.

Howard's work on children's mental health is truly inspiring. It comes from a place of heartfelt understanding and a desire to help early and help fast. The charity, Place2Be, that we're riding for, helps to raise awareness of the importance of mental health for children, a theme that is close to Howard's heart.

So that's why I'm riding 60km on a unicycle - to support children's mental health, to support Howard and to achieve a ridiculous feat with a kindred spirit.

Dare to be different.


One in six children and young people now have a diagnosable mental health issue. That’s five children in every classroom with a condition like depression or anxiety. Place2Be is the UK's leading school-based mental health charity, providing support to children, families and school-based staff when they need it most.Please help me support Place2Be’s vital work, and together we can make a real difference to children's mental health and ensure that children don’t have to face mental health problems alone.

About the charity


Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1040756
Place2Be is a children's mental health charity that works to improve the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. We help them to cope with wide-ranging and often complex social issues including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.

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