Sunday 22 September 2019

Zoe Ball to cycle for Sport Relief to raise awareness of mental health issues

Her boyfriend, Billy Yates, was found dead last year after struggling with his mental health.

Zoe Ball (Ian West/PA)
Zoe Ball (Ian West/PA)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Broadcaster Zoe Ball is to take on a cycling challenge to raise awareness of mental health as part of this year’s Sport Relief.

The Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two presenter’s boyfriend, Billy Yates, was found dead at his home last May and Ball has previously spoken about his struggles with mental health.

She said she was “honoured” to work with Sport Relief, adding: “It means so much to me to raise awareness of mental health issues – a topic close to my heart.”

Billed as a cycling feat with a difference by Sport Relief, Ball said she would have “miles to cover, hills to climb and a lot of chafing”.

Greg James and Alex Jones will also take on challenges with all three of the BBC presenters leading a nationwide charge for Britons to reach a collective one billion steps per day over the course of a week.

Running, dancing or simply walking the dog will count towards the nation’s collective total as part of a drive to raise money for vulnerable people across the UK and the world.

Beginning on March 17 and culminating in a night of entertainment on March 23, participants in the billion step challenge will be able to track their steps on a new Sport Relief App.

On March 23 a number of celebrities, including Made In Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews, ex-footballer Wayne Bridge and The Saturdays star Vanessa White will take to the ring and go toe-to-toe in boxing bouts.

Meanwhile, Radio 1 DJ James will be attempting to beat his previous Sport Relief achievement of completing five triathlons in five days while Jones has teamed up with four mums for The Mother of all Challenges, with a focus on maternal health.

James said: “My last challenge was unbelievably difficult but I think we’re about to top it.

“At the end of the fifth triathlon I said ‘never again’ but after seeing the huge amount of good it did in raising over a million quid for truly deserving projects and people, I have been inspired to push myself harder.

“This challenge is even more ridiculous.”

Jones said: “Over the years I’ve done a number of things for Sport Relief, some more dangerous than others, but I think this one’s got a really different feel to it.

“It’s a gang of us, a group of mothers, and we’re doing it as a team. I’m really looking forward to meeting the mothers and being part of another Sport Relief – it’s going to be a good one, it always is.”

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