Speedo Mick opens up on mental health issues after completing John O’Groats to Land’s End walk

Everton fan Michael Cullen, better known as ‘Speedo Mick’, admits his battle with his own mental health inspired him to walk the length of the UK for charity.

The diehard Evertonian has completed his seven-week trek from John O’Groats to Land’s End, already raising more than £340,000 for charity, with over 2,000 people at the finish line to greet him.

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The fundraiser admits he was speechless at the reception he received – but in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, the 55-year-old revealed he has had to battle with overcoming his own mental health issues.

“For a long time, I was out of the game – I’d lost myself,” Cullen said.

“I’d been battling with mental health, addiction and homelessness. Having been through all that myself, the donations that have been given are all going to go towards these causes.

“I’m in the process of registering my own charity to help young people suffering with mental health in the community. I’m just trying to give something back, basically. I’m trying to challenge myself as well.

“Now I’m back in the game, and I want to challenge myself, give back to the community, make people smile and hopefully raise a few pounds for charity as well.”

Back in 2016, Cullen raised over £50,000 for a Liverpool hospice by walking from Everton’s Goodison Park ground to Wembley Stadium, while he previously earned his nickname for swimming the English Channel, fundraising £30,000 in the process.

With the finish line in sight, Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis both swept across the UK, but rather than hamper his efforts, Mick redoubled them.

“It was difficult but I like a challenge,” added Cullen, who has been nominated for a Liverpool Council honour at a ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall next week.

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“When they said there was a storm coming, I rubbed my hands together. It didn’t make me think I needed an extra scarf or anything like that!

“A lot of people were telling me I had to stay in and shouldn’t go out in a storm, but I wanted to carry on. When Dennis came along, I just pushed him aside!”

Mick was greeted by a large crowd of well-wishers and a brass band at Land’s End after completing his most recent charity project.

Despite his experience of tackling inclement weather conditions, Mick’s latest challenge was certainly not without its major obstacles.

“Getting up in the morning when it was teeming it down with rain and there were gale-force winds, it’s was tough. I would be absolutely shattered, and I wasn’t sure in those moments if I was going to be able to complete the challenge. Those were the tough moments.

“All I want to do is bring a smile to people’s faces. I’m just an ordinary fellow trying to do extraordinary things.”

Mick Cullen

“But I had loads of fun times like on the sled at Ben Nevis, with the reindeer in Scotland and of course you’ve got all the support around you. People have been fantastic right along the route.

‘Speedo Mick’ smashed his initial £100,000 target by raising more than £315,000 for community projects for disadvantaged young people.

He was also welcomed at the finish line, on the south-western tip of Cornwall, by a message from one of his Goodison Park heroes, the club’s current assistant manager Duncan Ferguson.

“I was pretty damaged,” Cullen said. “If I can recover from that, anybody can – and that’s my message. I’ve already received thousands of messages saying I’ve inspired them to get out of the house.

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