zoe ball sports relief

Zoe Ball reflects on late boyfriend Billy Yates as she prepares to complete Sports Relief challenge

The TV presenter is trying to raise mental health awareness

Sharnaz Shahid

Her gruelling five-day challenge is set to come to an end on Friday, and as she prepares to complete the stint for this year's Sports Relief, Zoe Ball has opened up about the loss of her boyfriend Billy Yates and why this bike ride is so close to her heart. "I lost my boyfriend last year, and I really wanted to do something and find some hope for people that are living with mental illness," she explained. "To help others find some help and see there are great projects out there. In 2016 over 6,000 people died by suicide. Help is really, really needed."

Zoe Ball's boyfriend Billy Yates suffered with depression

The 47-year-old's bike ride is in memory of her cameraman boyfriend Billy, who struggled with depression, took his own life in May. Speaking about the difficulties of the challenge, Zoe shared: "It was a very hard day yesterday, I fell into a ditch and I am paying for it today - my legs are very sore. This morning was brutal, it was almost an out of body experience, but the people along the way are so amazing and full of love." Zoe has so far raised more than £332k in a bid to raise mental health awareness.

STORY: Zoe Ball completes first leg of Sports Relief challenge in memory of Billy Yates

The presenter will finish her BT Sport Relief Challenge on Friday,Photo credit: Victoria Dawe Photography

Over the past week, the TV presenter has been documenting her journey with her followers on Instagram. "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," she previously said of her bike ride. "This will be an awesome adventure, with miles to cover, hills to climb and a lot of chafing!" Zoe is also making a TV documentary on mental illness, which will air later this month. "I've got lots of questions to ask and I'm going to visit lots of projects that are giving people hope and are helping people," she said on BBC Radio 2. "That's kind of my motivation."

MORE: Zoe Ball set for new adventure as she moves home following Billy Yates' death