A TEACHER received support from various sporting figures as he completed a mammoth fundraising challenge in memory of his late wife.

Rich Baish’s wife, Alex, took her own life after a short battle with postpartum psychosis, a serious mental health illness which can affect someone after having a baby.

With backing from the worlds of football, cycling and Formula 1, Baish rode a bike from Glasgow, where his wife’s mum was born, through to The Henry Box School in Witney, where she worked as a maths teacher for 12 years.

READ AGAIN: Teacher set for mammoth challenge in memory of late wife

After completing the task in five days, he told this newspaper: “I’ve got two young kids, but I’ve never known exhaustion like this.

“It was one of the most amazing and positive weeks of my life.

“I’ve been able to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis and I’m confident that more people know about it now.

“The fact I’ve raised more than £50,000 for Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) is a great feeling, knowing that it’s going to save lives through training so that GPs are able to see the signs.”

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He added: “You wake up, shovel as much breakfast as you can and then you’re on the bikes until 8 or 9pm – continuing like that every day was a physical gruel.

“I feel like I started the week with friends and we ended it as brothers.

“We had a very supportive team with us as well, Steve Willis and Martyn Stacey, helping to top us up with food and drink.

“It was so hard but that made it so rewarding.

“On day three, we had two hills to climb at Buttertubs Pass but I was in excruciating pain, sweating so much and I didn’t know it was possible to breath so heavily.

“The feeling of getting to the top though was amazing and made all the effort worthwhile.”

Along the way, Baish and the team – which included Oxford United first team physiotherapist Andy Caton – received messages from sports stars such as F1 driver Valtteri Bottas, Olympic cyclist Tiffany Cromwell and road race cycling world champion Lizzie Deignan.

Baish said: “It was brilliant and made us feel good. A couple of times, it made me push on during some of the bigger hills.

“The welcome back party to cheer us on at Henry Box was fantastic, so a thank you to Abby Burgess and Laura Allman for setting that up.

“My huge thanks go to the team – Lewis Allman, Andy Caton, Tom McMullan, James Gilbert and Ian Hughes.”

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis include hallucinations, a low mood, and feeling suspicious or fearful. See a GP immediately if you think you, or someone you know, may have developed symptoms.

Upon publication, Baish has raised just over £50,000 for APP. For more information, and to donate, please visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/richardbaish

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.