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Marine Engineering Officers undertake challenge of their lives to save young lives

11th July 2016

Two Marine Engineering Officers in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary are undertaking their biggest challenge to date, in order to save young lives.

Henry McCann from Leeds and Robert Frost from Barnsley are undertaking the Mongol Rally to raise funds for PAPYRUS, the national charity dedicated to preventing young suicides - a subject very close to their hearts and in memory of their friend Lily Cleal who sadly took her own life in December 2013 aged 18. They are also supporting charity SSAFA, raising awareness for the treatment of UK forces’ veterans.

Said Lily’s Mother, Kate Cleal: “Henry and his twin sister Sadie were at school with Lily from age 5. They grew up together and shared a wide and lovely circle of friends. It's going to be a thrilling adventure for Henry and Robert and I'm just so impressed and proud that they have taken on this challenge - such courage and fortitude! That they are doing it in Lily's memory and to raise money for PAPYRUS is so moving.”

Both will be 20 when on 16th July they set off from Leeds in Rob’s first car - a 23 year old Peugeot 205 with 120,000 miles on the clock – beginning an endurance test covering 15,000 miles, across 23 countries and two continents, from Leeds to Ulan Bator, Mongolia and back.

As well as raising awareness that there is hope and help for young people who feel they are not coping with life, they aim to ‘bust the myth’ that world travel is for only a select few – and that extraordinary adventures and experiences can occur on a small budget.

Although both from Yorkshire the friends met will serving in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Both have a great passion for adventure and are relishing the opportunity to use their technical and tactical ability and knowledge in this once in a lifetime challenge.

“We rely heavily on our fundraisers to help us reach out to more young people, helping to reduce stigma and raising awareness that there is hope and help for those who are not coping with life,” said Ottilie Scanlon, PAPYRUS fundraising assistant. “This amazing venture by Henry and Robert is fantastic support and we wish them well. Suicide is the main cause of death in young people under 35: one is too many.”


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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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