A TEAM of sport coaches were blown away by the support they received on a recent charity cycle to Stirling.

The team of four rode more than 400 miles, taking in a handful of stops along the way.

The quartet are based at Leeds Beckett University, where they are part of the Carnegie American Football team.

After months of planning they put into place a radical fundraising challenge to back the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

As their university American Football team would be competing against Derby, Nottingham, Durham and Stirling in the coming season, they decided to pay them each a visit.

Thus, the Leeds Bike-it Carnegie was formed, setting off in early July.

And having set an initial target of around £2,500 to £3,000, the team was delighted to have reach and breached their goal.

Rider Jason Shaw told the Stirling News: "We are overwhelmed by the generosity people have shown in helping us smash our original fundraising target.

"Meeting some people along the way who had very personal connections to the work CALM do was amazing and definitely kept our pedals turning.

"Considering the varying level of cycling experience in the team, we all made it to the end relatively unscathed.

"Being able to say we cycled 426 miles over four days is amazing; to be able to add to that we raised nearly £5000 for CALM is just phenomenal.

"We can’t thank our supporters enough," he added. "We will have to see what challenges await in 2019 - Leeds Bike-it Carnegie are far from finished."

They money was initially to be split between the charity and their own club, but the riders opted to cap their own proceeds at £500.

Before setting off, Jason spoke of the importance of CALM and their efforts to break down stigma surrounding mental health.

He said: "We decided that with exercise playing such a part in increasing mental wellbeing, cycling between the four teams in the division would be a good challenge and help raise awareness of mental health issues affecting young men in the UK.

"Encouraging young men who take part in full contact sport, often considered a 'macho' arena, to feel comfortable enough to speak up when they have issues is something really important to us as coaches."

To find out more about CALM, visit www.thecalmzone.net