A HEADTEACHER is set to cycle 600 kilometres to raise money for a charity that patrols Beachy Head to prevent suicides.

Roedean Moira House’s Andrew Wood has pledged to cycle from the girls’ school in Eastbourne’s Upper Carlisle Road to Lake Windermere.

It is a route he chose because it was the journey that pupils from his school took back in 1940 when they were evacuated up to the Lakes.

The 44-year-old is a self-confessed sports fanatic.

He chose the charity after cycling along Beachy Head many times and being struck by the fantastic work being done by Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team (BHCT).

The team has responded to more than 5,500 incidents at Beachy Head since it was established in 2004.

An entirely voluntary service, funds raised pay for the powering of search lights, search vehicles and the training of new chaplains to patrol the area.

Andrew said: “Thankfully, society is now at a point where good mental health is something that we are happy to talk about.

“I wanted to send a message to the pupils, staff and parents at school how important I felt that was and that is why I am embarking on this challenge.

“Everyone’s lives’ are affected in one way or another by mental health issues, whether they suffer themselves or know someone who does.

“It’s something we should be talking about in schools too, particularly in light of the tragic death of young Molly Russell highlighted in the news recently.”

He added: “Certain year groups have been studying the Second World War and evacuation.

“I thought retracing the route that their predecessors at Roedean Moira House would have taken up to the Lakes would be a neat way of tying in what they have been learning about with my fundraising.”

Andrew will set off from the school on the Saturday of the Easter weekend and hopes to arrive by Tuesday.

He added: “It’s an awful long way and I don’t like to think about how my legs are going to feel when I get back to school.

“The girls have been incredibly supportive, however, and I am determined not to let them, or BHCT, down!”

To donate, visit Andrew’s Virgin Money Giving internet page.