AN 'AMAZING' 14-year-old Scout has passed through York during a 500-mile charity cycle trek.
Leo, from Bromley, has chosen to take on the challenge of cycling 486 miles from his home in Kent to Edinburgh to raise vital funds for mental health charity SHOUT 85258 - and awareness of the life-saving mental health text support the charity provides.
"People my age find texting much easier when they need help. It means they can reach out silently for support, no matter what they’re going through,” Leo said.
Lauren Wilson, from Mental Health Innovations, the charity behind SHOUT 85258, contacted York Scouts to share Leo’s challenge with them and to ask if anyone from York Scouting would be able to meet him in York - and local volunteer leader Sarah Selby said she would be "delighted" to do so.
As Leo stopped for a rest and a well-deserved hot chocolate in the city, Sarah met up with him to present him with a special Ebor Star badge in recognition of his top effort for the charity. He also got chance to hold the charity mascot - Loki bear.
Sarah said: “Ebor Star awards don’t usually get awarded to people outside of the York Ebor District, so it’s really special for Leo to receive one."
Meanwhile, following the meeting Leo said: “I made it to York, halfway through our journey to Edinburgh in time and distance. I met lovely leader Sarah - now to continue our day."
To donate to Leo's efforts, visit his online donation page on Just Giving.
You can also follow his progress on his Facebook page called 'Scout for SHOUT 85258'.
This is not the first time Leo has taken on a charity task to support mental health. Aged just 12, Leo slept outside in a hammock for a year to raise money after he saw friends struggling with poor mental health. He raised over £8,000 then.
Scout groups locally and nationally are run entirely by volunteers who give their time in many different ways, from being leaders running the meetings and events, to supporting the group as trustees, or just helping our occasionally. All volunteers receive the training they need to fulfil their roles, giving up their own time for the benefit of children and young people.
A spokesperson for Scout Groups said they have seen an increase in demand from young people since the pandemic - so they are appealing for new helpers to create "wonderful" memories.
The spokesperson said: "The more adult volunteers we get, the more young children we can welcome into Scouting. We look forward to hearing from you."
There are over 2,000 young people in Scouting across York.