A retired Sunderland GP has set two new world records after taking on a strength-based challenge to raise awareness of mental health charity Mind.
Jess Jones, 57, recently retired from her post at Deerness Park Medical Centre in Hendon, where she often encountered patients struggling with their mental health.
Recognising a gap in the system for support, she threw her weight behind supporting Mind, which can often bridge the gap between patients who need help and the time they have to wait to see a specialist.
To raise awareness and funds, Jess set up the Million in a Minute campaign for people to complete a sponsored challenge of their choice to raise funds.
Supported by her gym, Fitness 2000 in Roker, Jess took on the challenge to complete the most parallel dips she could in a minute while wearing a belt weighing a third of her body weight, as well as two 2kg weights on her ankles.
She completed the feat with 12 dips and, as if that wasn’t enough, she then did an off-the-cuff challenge to perform three consecutive dips while wearing a belt weighing half her body weight.
Jess said: “I only expected to complete the first world record, but as the adjudicators were there I decided to try the half body weight challenge too.
“It was so satisfying to complete the challenge. My main aim was to raise awareness and money for the charity, which can be really difficult to get people to donate.
“But other people have been so supportive, especially Les Ojugbana who owns Fitness 2000 and Billy Bone from Above the Action video, who helped me on the day.”
Jess has raised just shy of £1,000 for Mind and Les has offered to match and double the next 10 donations to the cause from Fitness 2000 members.
Despite breaking the records, Jess has pledged to continue the challenge and is planning to inspire schools, health groups and more to take on their own sponsored Million in a Minute challenge.
She said: “They don’t have to be strength or fitness-based challenges, they could be something silly.
“On the same day I did my challenge my friend did a challenge to see how many pairs of knickers she could put on in a minute. She managed 37 pairs and raised £300.”
Les said: “The challenge Jess set herself is fantastic and it goes to show that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
“All of us at Fitness 2000, staff and customers, are very proud of her accomplishments in setting a World Record in aid of Mind, and we hope others will take up the challenge for such a fantastic cause.”
• If you’re interested in taking on a Million in a Minute challenge or donating you can visit https://justgiving.com/teams/millioninaminute or search “Million in a Minute” on Facebook.
Anyone affected by mental health can contact Mind on Tel: 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.