Cycling length of NZ for charity

By Kyra Dawson

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From left, Samaritans chairwoman Marie Townes, Rotorua Lifelink Samaritans manager Kay Brown and  chairman Greg Halse, and Alastair Baldwin on his bike. Photo / Stephen Parker
From left, Samaritans chairwoman Marie Townes, Rotorua Lifelink Samaritans manager Kay Brown and chairman Greg Halse, and Alastair Baldwin on his bike. Photo / Stephen Parker

When it comes to New Year's decisions, deciding to cycle the length of the country is a pretty big one.

But that's what Alastair Baldwin - a 20-year-old design student and cycling enthusiast - did to help raise funds and awareness for the listening and support telephone service Samaritans.

The Wellington man rode into Rotorua last week and stayed over the weekend to soak in the hot pools and rejuvenate for his last month of riding.

"I have wanted to ride the length of the country for quite a few years. I haven't seen much of New Zealand and I like cycling a lot. I want to travel and I think it's good to have an idea of your own country before you go.

"It's going to be great to get to the top. I've been looking forward to going to some of Rotorua's hot pools."

Starting in Bluff on February 29, Mr Baldwin's route has taken him up the east coast, through Dunedin and Christchurch.

He then went over Arthur's Pass, into Greymouth and up to Nelson and Picton. After catching the ferry over to Wellington, he travelled up the West Coast to Foxton, across to Hawke's Bay, then back across the Central Plateau to Taupo then Rotorua.

He left Rotorua on Sunday morning to head up to Auckland and Northland. The total trip distance will exceed 3000km and while he had hoped it would take about two months, he said it's looking more like an early May finish.

"I want to help raise funds for Samaritans because I know first-hand how important it is to have someone to talk to when you're struggling with your mental health.

"Samaritans offers completely confidential 24/7 support for those in need, which I think many people, especially those around my age, can benefit from.

"Samaritans receive no government funding and are severely under-funded, but need our help so that they can continue listening and caring for thousands of New Zealanders every year."

As of last week Mr Baldwin said he had raised $3000 for Samaritans on his Givealittle page, and he is only two-thirds of the way through his journey.

- If you would like to support Mr Baldwin and donate to Samaritans go to www.givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/rideforsamaritans.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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