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Local GP makes Northampton happier and healthier by raising over £1300 in epic 125-mile cycle challenge

Written by on September 24, 2020

On Sunday 16th August, a group of local road cyclists completed an epic 125-mile cycle challenge raising over £1300 for Action for Happiness in the county. Group leader, Northampton GP Dr David Smart, also used the challenge to celebrate 30 years as a GP at Leicester Terrace Healthcare Centre.

Action for Happiness is a social movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. Northamptonshire has a dedicated group of volunteers who want to see a fundamentally different way of life – where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.

The charity produces monthly action calendars which invite people to take small daily actions to improve their own happiness and that of their community. The viral calendars were originally developed by volunteers in Northamptonshire. The charity also promotes the 10 keys to Happier Living and are in good company with their patron being the Dalai Lama.

Dr David Smart is a big supporter of the charity and has worked hard to promote the Action for Happiness framework across healthcare in the county. Many of the cyclists are involved in healthcare and the group are keen to promote Action for Happiness as well as cycling to improve the health and wellbeing of Northamptonshire residents.

Dr David Smart explains “Obesity doesn’t just matter to our future selves it matters to ourselves today. We know that the risk of requiring hospital treatment for COVID-19 doubles and obesity also increases the risk of dying from COVID-19 by 50%.”

“Having taken up cycling over the last decade I have lost 18 KG in weight making me the same weight as when I joined general practise 30 years ago. Not only will this reduce my risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease but also cancer and dementia, so I hope I can age well.”

Setting off at 7:00am from Delapre Abbey, the group encountered an unexpected random act of kindness at their first scheduled stop where the generous team at Watermill Tea Rooms donated the cost of the group’s breakfast, which was over £50, to the fundraising pot. Despite the forecasted thunderstorms and torrential rain, the group remained dry until the last two hours of their 12-hour journey around Northamptonshire.

Dr David Smart “I am incredibly grateful to people who have contributed to the cause of promoting Action for Happiness in our town to encourage well-being. I’m also grateful to the many businesses who have contributed, as we know that for every £1 invested in mental well-being there is a £3 return by improving the well-being of the workforce.”

“Cycling the 125 miles with friends new and old has certainly helped me put all 10 Keys of Happier Living into practice in one day!”

The fundraising pot is still open until the end of October and you still can contribute both individually and as an organisation:

Northamptonshire Action for Happiness activities can be followed via @A4HNorthants on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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