Submariners to take on gruelling Tour de France route in honour of Shropshire Navy captain

Colleagues of a former Shropshire Navy captain aim to cycle the Tour de France route in his honour.

Captain Jim Simpson
Captain Jim Simpson

Three serving submariners of the Royal Navy will cycle the route next year to raise awareness and money for HELP – a sub fund set up under the Royal Navy & Royal Mariners charity.

The fund was set up in honour of Captain James Simpson, known as Jim, from Cheswardine in Shropshire, who took his own life last year during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Now, Lt Cdr Darren Lunn, Lt Kyle Baker and WO Adam McCrohan will be cycling to support the charity which aims to educate and tackle the stigma of mental health in the Royal Navy.

The challenge will see the trio aim to cycle the 2020 Tour de France route in 23 days – including two rest days – covering 3,484km and 54,000m in elevation. The team will be supported by two drivers – CPO Iain Hamblin and PO Mark Twitty – during the challenge that will run from August 29, to September 20 next year.

Captain Simpson was a long-term resident of Shropshire, having lived in Shrewsbury during the 1980s whilst his father was stationed at RAF Shawbury and again when his family moved to Market Drayton in 1992.

Captain Jim Simpson

He completed his A levels at Grove School and Sixth Form, Newcastle Road, where he met his future wife Claire, who he went on to marry in St Mary’s Church in 2001. The father-of-two studied Engineering at university and joined the Royal Navy in 2000, where he worked his way up to the rank of captain.

HELP charity provides people with the practical skills and understanding needed to spot signs of poor mental health, so if symptoms occur, they can be recognised and support given where needed.

To follow the team’s progress follow @tourdesubmariner on Instagram and Facebook. To make a donation visit justgiving.com/fundraising/tourdesubmariner.

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