With light at the end of the tunnel following months in lockdown, community spirit continues to soar throughout Allerdale – and plenty of thoughtful heroes still deserve their time in the spotlight.

And while so many people have stepped up to do their bit for the community, two avid supporters of mental health awareness took to the Wainwrights to do their bit for their community – and that’s why Gary Hewer and Ryan Dodgson have been named our People of the Week.

Distington man Gary and Workington’s Ryan tackled Dodd, Carlside, Longside, Ullock Pike and Skiddaw – all in one day – earlier this month, in a bid to raise much-needed funds for West Cumberland Hospital’s mental health ward, Yewdale.

The pair were joined by 130 people, including fellow amateur rugby players from all teams across West Cumbria, as well as mental health champion, Whitehaven Town Councillor Carl Walmsley, and have raised more than an incredible £23,000, all for the vital ward.

On top of the Five Wainwrights Challenge, Ryan and Egremont ARL coach Gary have each carried out other projects to raise awareness for the subject, including designing shirts for players and fans to wear, and the popular 25 Push Up Challenge.

And if the shower of praise online and in-person wasn't enough for all their wonderful work, supporters of the caring team have taken to nominating Ryan and Gary for their brilliant efforts and endless selfless tasks.

But all that matters to Gary and Ryan is awareness, and supporting local causes such as the wonderful West Cumberland.

Gary said: "I'm delighted that we've both been recognised for [the Wainwright challenge], but it was never our intention to do it for praise.

"It's all about raising awareness, and encouraging people to talk about how their feeling.

"With rugby being a male-dominated sport there's almost a taboo around the topic, so if we save just one person's life through all of this, or make one person feel safe enough to talk about their feelings, we've done what we needed to do."

And Ryan is thrilled so much has been raised for the Yewdale ward, keeping the community's efforts within the local area.

"I've got such a passion for fundraising for the local community, and keeping funds where you can see them making a difference to people's lives," he said.

"All I want to do is carry on raising money for any cause that needs it – anything that helps the people of West Cumbria."

Both added a "massive thank you" to everyone who has supported them, saying: "None of this would have been possible without the help from so many people – too many to list.

"Just a massive thank you to everyone who helped out, offered services, provided transport, Zoe for planning the route, everybody who donated, and everybody who got involved."

Gary added: "We all just need to continue raising awareness now – keep an eye on your friends, and know that it's okay not to be okay."

To donate to the gofundme page, visit www.gofundme.com/f/west-cumbria-mental-health-sponsored-walk.