AN inspiring man who turned to cycling to battle his lockdown blues is travelling hundreds of miles around Tendring to raise money for a mental health charity.

Dean Smith, 37, grew up in Walton and moved away to the Midlands for 14 years, before returning to the seaside town in 2016.

Three years later, in June 2019, Mr Smith started to experience acute depression which was amplified when the coronavirus pandemic hit last March.

Determined to not be defined or held back by his negative thoughts, he turned to meditation and eventually found a more positive mindset through cycling.

“Over that period, much of it in lockdown, I worked very hard on improving my mental health and my bike really helped me, as I currently live on my own,” he said.

“I have now made a full recovery, so I decided that I would like to give something back to my community and to help the Mind charity.

“Hopefully, what I am doing will help it provide vital services to people who are struggling with their mental health during lockdown.”

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Mr Smith decided to assist the organisation by utilising his newfound passion for gliding on two wheels to raise money and awareness of mental health.

He has already completed more than 200-miles of his 400-mile route, and has passed through the likes of Manningtree, Thorpe-le-Soken, Mistley, and Walton.

He added: “It was difficult when the Beast from the East hit the coast, which prevented me from riding for two days.

“And when I could ride again, the conditions were tough, but my mental strength got me through and overall it has been going really well.

“Now, with the weather clearing up, I am feeling really optimistic about completing my challenge.”

Mr Smith has consistently documented his remarkable journey on social media, which many people have been enjoying.

“I have been sharing my experience online as I have been going along, and it has been great how many people I have connected with,” he added.

“Whether it has been through donations or people seeking advice on mental health, the whole experience has been positive and intrinsically rewarding.”