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Torfaen councillor’s eight-day Sahara desert trek in memory of friend

A Torfaen councillor plans to trek across the Sahara in memory of a friend while raising money for a mental health charity.

Nick Byrne, 42, represents the New Inn Ward and runs the popular live music venue in Pontypool, The Dragonffli. Earlier this year, his friend Lee Robinson died suddenly at 42. Nick wants to remember Lee and support the Gwent-based charity Tidy Butt, who promote good mental health.

Click here to sponsor Nick.

Nick told Cwmbran Life he has mental health problems himself and wants to raise the importance of talking and getting support. He said: “To be honest with you, I suffer with mental health. I have since 2010.” He saw a friend walk to the base camp of Everest and set about finding a challenge that would test him physically and mentally.

“I was looking online and thinking of something I could do. I really wanted to do something dangerous. My father used to work away a lot in the Royal Navy, a mechanical engineer, and did lots of work in Libya and Algeria and some of the stories were about how spectacular it is at night and how quiet it is.”

Nick first met Lee in secondary school and they “became pally at 13 or 14″. He said: We just used to like to go out on bikes. We’d go to gigs together. There was a group of us. You do lose touch after school.” In the late 2000s the friends both had camper vans and would meet for beers: “I saw him recently. I invited him up to The Dragonffli and he said he was going to pop up.” Nick was in Cyprus on holiday when he found out his friend had died.

Nick said on his JustGiving page: “Mental Health in men doesn’t get the support it really should and I am looking to try and change that this is where I will start. All funds raised will go to the Men’s mental health Charity Tidy Butt. Over the last 20 years I have raised £10,000s for so many charities mainly through music events at The Dragonffli this will continue. I am hoping you all support this not just by donating funds but by raising awareness.”

Sponsor Nick and support Tidy Butt

Click here to sponsor Nick. He will be walking from 4-11 November 2023.

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Torfaen councillor’s eight-day Sahara desert trek in memory of friend

Nick Byrne
Nick Byrne