Leader of South Gloucestershire Council Toby Savage and his deputy Cllr Jon Hunt have been training with sporting royalty in advance of a 220km bike ride between all schools in the region.

As part of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week across the country, the pair will be taking on the challenge from February 4-9.

The two councillors have been getting some expert tips in preparation though, as they joined Paralympic Gold Medalist Andy Lewis MBE for a training session.

Councillors Toby Savage and Jon Hunt, who also serve as cabinet members for schools, skills and employment and for children and young people respectively, will ride across South Gloucestershire to visit its 121 schools between 7-8 February for leading national children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

The aim of the challenge is to emphasise the link between physical wellbeing and positive mental health.

Councillor Savage said: “We firmly believe that any child failing to fulfil their potential is a tragedy, particularly when it is due to poor mental health.

“This ride will be tough, but I hope the positive message it brings will help highlight the challenges schools face around student and staff mental health, as well as the work being done to support and improve good mental health in South Gloucestershire schools.”

Councillor Hunt added: “To be truly healthy, it’s not just what we see but the hidden factors. 50 per cent of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and we need to tackle this growing issue to allow the best start in life for all our children.

“Nearly every classroom will have a child suffering with some form of mental health issue. We are taking on this physical challenge to help highlight the problem, with a route that encompasses every school in South Gloucestershire.”

Andy Lewis revealed that he was 'very keen' to help the pair after suffering with his own battles over recent years.

“As someone who has personally suffered from mental health issues, I know the positive impact being active can have. Working in schools over the past few years has given me the chance to promote the importance of wellbeing, but there is always more that can be done.

“It is amazing that Toby and Jon have committed to completing this challenge, it is a big ask for novice riders to tackle such a distance, but their attitude has really impressed me and so I wish them the best of luck.”