A Wigan man plans to honour his best friend’s memory with an epic cycling trip from Wigan to Paris.
Peter Hill will set off for the French capital in July in memory of pal Anthony Hughes, who was just 30 years old when he took his own life in 2014.
He is organising the epic Pedal 2 Paris ride as an awareness and fund-raising campaign for the mental health issues that affected Anthony, who was a youth sports development officer and also a winger for Wigan St Patrick’s Amateur Rugby League Club.
The first leg of the journey will set off from the DW Stadium following the Wigan Warriors vs Leeds Rhinos match on July 21.
The 32-year-old hopes to reach Paris with his entourage 10 days later.
The launch location was chosen due to one of Peter’s strongest bonds with Anthony - their love of rugby, and Warriors in particular.
He had asked me to join him on a bike ride several times, but I never got round to it, and now never willPeter Hill
And Peter has revealed that one reason for the ride is that Anthony, who also worked in the Wigan Post’s advertising department for a period, had often asked him to join him on a bike trek but they had never got round to it before tragedy struck.
The singer and DJ from Beech Hill said: “I had the privilege of singing the national anthem at a Warriors versus St Helens game a few years ago.
“I could feel my phone going off in my pocket midway through the anthem.
“It was Anthony messaging me, saying he was singing along like a proud dad.
“It was one of the last conversations I had with him.”
The father-of-one, who was the best man at Peter’s wedding, died 10 days later after battling severe bouts of depression.
“He had asked me to join him on a bike ride several times, but I never got round to it, and now never will.
“So I wanted to do something in his memory whilst hopefully helping some people along the way.”
And Pedal 2 Paris has already received the backing of the Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, who connected Peter with mental health charity, State of Mind.
“They make a huge and vital difference to the lives of people throughout our local community,” Peter said of the Warriors Foundation.
“They use the power of sport and education to help improve people’s lives for the better.
“The sports camps they run are events that both me and Anthony enjoyed as youngsters.”
Peter considers himself very much an amateur cyclist, and says he is not underestimating the gruelling challenge that lies ahead.
“This will without doubt me the most physically demanding challenge I’ve ever undertaken.
“But I want to spread the message that anything is possible with a little help from the people around you.
“It’s OK to need help, and I want to demonstrate that however difficult the challenge is, by breaking it down and asking for that help and support from others around you, you can overcome difficult circumstances.”
Peter is currently in training for the ride, and is looking to recruit as many cyclists as possible to join him on his expedition.
For more information on how to get involved or donate, visit petesp2p.org.