016: Marcus Chapman/The Campaign Against Living Miserably

Marcus (left) and Nelson (right) after a Woolacombe surf

“Nelson was my best friend and I miss him every day. But through the ride his legacy lives on and I’m proud that we’re able to have such a positive impact.”

My guest this week is my old friend and trustee of mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Marcus Chapman.

Marcus and Nelly’s brother Chris Pratt putting some pre-ride miles in

Marcus and Nelson’s brother Chris are the organisers of annual fundraiser Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley, a cycling sportive held to raise cash for CALM and to commemorate the life of the much-missed and much-loved Nelson Pratt, Chris’s brother and Marcus’s best friend.

Stoked finishers at the 2016 event

Nelson, who sadly passed away in June 2012, was a hugely popular member of the UK snowboarding fraternity and a man with much to live for. So on the eve of this year’s event, I decided to speak to Marcus to find out more about the event, go over Nelson’s own story too see how it might illuminate some of the issues around mental health, and find out more about how CALM raises awareness about this most sensitive of issues.

As you might expect, it was an emotional and cathartic chat in which we celebrated the life of our friend and discussed in details the amazingly positive things CALM have been able to achieve with the money raised at Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley. Check the graphic for a breakdown, and please check the Show Notes for details of how to contact CALM or any of the other organisations we mention if you’re been affected by any of the issues discussed on the show.

Nelly in Japan. Photo: Natalie Mayer

Huge thanks for coming on the show, being so honest and sharing yours and Nelson’s story Marcus. Ride on Nelly! We miss you brother X

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - The way the money raised at Nelson's Tour de Test Valley helps CALM

Show Notes

  • At the CALM offices.
  • How mental health has become much more of an accepted public talking point.
  • The Royal Foundation connection – and how it has helped raise awareness.
  • How Marcus and Chris Pratt got involved with CALM.
  • Male suicide as the biggest killer of young men in the UK.
  • The crucial work that CALM carry out
  • How CALM use language, music, art and culture to be more accessible
  • The #Mandictionary
  • The first year of Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley – £60,000 raised
  • Marcus as a trustee of CALM – and what that entails
  • The contribution the money raised at Nelly’s event makes towards CALM
  • Over £200,000 raised in four years – what that helps pays for, and how many lives that saves
  • Where the idea for the event came from – Nelson’s love for cycling, and one particularly memorable day
  • The unique atmosphere of Nelson’s Tour du Test Valley
  • Nelson’s Mum’s famous brownies
  • The unique camaraderie of the ride
  • How people on the ride contribute
  • The cult jerseys and cycling caps
  • Help from sponsors like Vans
  • How Marcus met Nelson
  • Fast friends from the start
  • Nelson’s unique talent as a snowboarder – and as an exceptional physical talent
  • The purity of not playing the game
  • How Nelson’s anxieties manifested themselves…
  • … and how he kept those anxieties hidden
  • How Marcus’s sense of guilt has driven him to create the event and try to celebrate Nelson’s life
  • Marcus’s own struggles
  • The difficulty of finding support on the NHS
  • Educating people on the other options available to them.
  • How Marcus copes with his own difficulties
  • The ripple effect of suicide
  • The legacy of the ride
  • Marcus’s current riding routine
  • Advice for somebody who is struggling and needs help
  • Advice for somebody who’s looking to help
  • The power of communication.

People mentioned

Organisations mentioned