A FORMER soldier who is cycling across 13 countries to raise funds for Help for Heroes came to Wearside to raise awareness about the charity.
South African Hendrik van der Mescht, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Army, wants to raise £50,000 for the good cause.
The 37-year-old former Coldstream Guard cycled from London to Sunderland and back to let people know about a 15,000-mile ride to Cape Town next year.
He joined the guards in 2003 and a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005 left him with terrifying nightmares and he turned to drink, leading to the breakdown of his marriage.
Hendrik, who also served as a guard at Buckingham Palace, took up cycling in 2011 after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
He said: “I want people to realise what soldiers are going through in terms of mental health. It is easy to see if a soldier has lost a leg or an arm, but mental health is not so easy to see.”
Henrik needs to raise £11,215 to complete next year’s ride from Buckingham Palace to Africa.
To donate, visit www.wheelpower.info.