COMPLETING a firewalk and dying her hair bright red are just two of the 40 challenges a Worcester woman plans to complete before she turns 40.

Jo Hobbs has set herself a variety of tasks from the extreme to the ordinary and hopes her journey will raise both awareness and money for Rethink Mental Illness.

The 39-year-old has begun the series of challenges by starting a new blog recording all her achievements and on Saturday her blonde hair was transformed at Pure Hair in Reindeer Court, ticking another of the 40 tasks of her list. Miss Hobbs, who works as an occupational therapist specialising in mental health at Newtown Hospital, said: “I am 40 in November this year and I wanted to do something significant to mark my 40th year. I set myself the challenge of achieving 40 activities before the I turn 40 in November.

“Mental illness will affect one in four of us during our lives and can have a big impact on those who care for us too. I want to show how both ordinary and extraordinary activities can help you to manage or improve your mental health.

“For example, clearing out the loft or redecorating a room is a pretty ordinary activity but our environment has a direct impact on our mood and therefore when we let jobs mount up we can feel stressed or unmotivated.

“Extraordinary activities like firewalking, trekking a mountain or skydiving give us a buzz at the time and are often followed by a prolonged sense of achievement.”

Miss Hobbs, of Hillery Road, Worcester, has also included random acts of kindness in her list of challenges including buying flowers for a stranger.

She said: ”Doing things for others makes us feel good in ourselves and I’m hoping I can prompt people to do the same. My list is a combination of my own personal aspirations and new year resolutions plus suggestions from friends and family, hence I will becoming vegetarian for a month.”

To find out more about her challenge or donate prizes for future fund-raising events visit, or to support the charity go to justgiving. com/hobbs40.