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Zoe Ball completes first leg of Sports Relief challenge in memory of late boyfriend Billy Yates

The Strictly star has kicked off her BT Sport Relief Challenge

Sharnaz Shahid

Well done to Zoe Ball! The 47-year-old has completed the first leg of her Sports Relief bike ride in memory of her late boyfriend Billy Yates in a bid to raise mental health awareness. The presenter, who is planning to ride 300 miles to Brighton in five days, rode almost 72 miles from Blackpool to Halton Stadium in Widnes on Monday afternoon. Taking to her Twitter page, Zoe thanked her followers for their support, saying: "Thank you gorgeous peeps who came to wave & cheer us on today & the Toots from the car horns. Really helps fire us forward @sportrelief."

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Zoe Ball's boyfriend Billy Yates suffered from depression

On Tuesday morning, Zoe was ready for day two of her challenge, admitting that her legs are already starting to feel like lead as she prepares for a big climb to Upton Magna. The Strictly star was surprised by comedian and fellow Sport Relief challengee John Bishop who turned up to give her an extra boost of motivation and tips to push her through the day. "I am absolutely elated," she shared. "I was really emotional cycling into the stadium yesterday and had a little cry behind my specs but the support has really been amazing. My physio gave me a lukewarm dunk in the bath, put me in compression tights and my legs are feeling ok after day one but we still have day two today."

STORY: Zoe Ball leaves Brighton for quiet country cottage

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The Strictly star has kicked off her BT Sport Relief Challenge, Photo credit: Victoria Dawe Photography

Raising awareness of mental health issues is close to Zoe's heart. Her cameraman boyfriend Billy, who struggled from depression, took his own life in May. Speaking about her challenge, Zoe explained: "I feel honoured to be taking on such an epic challenge for Sport Relief and it means so much to me to raise awareness of mental health issues - a topic close to my heart. This will be an awesome adventure, with miles to cover, hills to climb and a lot of chafing!"

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