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PC completes trek to get people talking

PC Shane Jones with PD Delta in Cheddar and at the end of his walk in Clifton
PC Shane Jones with PD Delta at the start of his walk and at the finish in Clifton

We’re really proud of our colleague, dog handler PC Shane Jones, who completed a charity walk from Cheddar Gorge to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, wearing only shorts and barefoot – despite torrential rain and 20mph winds.

Shane undertook the challenge to encourage people to talk about mental health and to raise money for the charity Mind, because of the number of times he and police dog Delta are called on to search for people who have gone missing while experiencing poor mental health.

PD Delta joined him for the first leg of his 17-mile walk, at 9am on Sunday 13 February. Shane reached Clifton seven and a half hours later, after 46,200 steps.

He said: “The whole idea of doing something so outlandish was to get people talking and I think it’s definitely done that. Lots of people knew what I was doing and stopped to clap.

“When I got on top of the Mendips the rain was coming in sideways and I ran half a mile just to get out of it. It’s the first time I’ve really “felt the cold in my bones” as they say. The support around me kept me going. I’m so grateful to all the people who cheered me on and contributed to the fundraiser. I’d like to give a massive thank you to the family, friends and colleagues who looked after me – bringing me a hot water bottle, blister plasters and bandages – and the pubs and householders who kept me topped up with hot water!

“I have two nasty blisters but I only had to wear my emergency flip flops for about quarter of a mile, where there was a section of pavement with broken glass and all sorts and the road was too busy to walk in. Today is a day of putting my feet up and recovering!”

Shane’s trek has raised more than £5,000 for Mind but most importantly he wants people to open up and talk to others when they’re struggling.

He said: “You can’t see mental health and we don’t like to talk about it. We say we’re ‘fine’ and keep a stiff upper lip, but while it can be hard to speak out people will listen and it does help.”

You can find help and advice on mental health at the charity Mind’s website.