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North West health club members undertake military-style obstacle course challenge in support of war veteran’s charity

Andy Reid with Gemma Simpson from the Bannatyne health club Skelmersdale

Members of Bannatyne’s Health Clubs in the North West are taking part in an ultra-challenging fundraiser in aid of a charity set up by fellow member and Afghanistan war veteran and triple amputee Andy Reid MBE.

Andy’s Standing Tall Foundation has partnered with this year’s Born Survivor event in Macclesfield, which offers the ultimate physical challenge – a military standard obstacle course.

The Bannatyne Group is encouraging members at its clubs in Blackpool, Crewe, Skelmersdale and Manchester to form teams to tackle the 10km challenge at Capesthorne Hall on May 7.

The course will be set up using the natural terrain features with up to 30 military training-inspired obstacles with participants having to run, climb, haul, leap, slide and crawl their way round.

Andy, who lost both his legs and one of his arms in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan, has known the health clubs’ founder Duncan Bannatyne since 2012 and is a member of the Skelmersdale club.

The Foundation initially focused on helping military veterans, but, in the wake of the adverse effects of the pandemic, has expanded its support to the wider community. It now helps people with mental and physical health issues through the provision of counselling, addiction support and physical activity initiatives.

It also aids those facing financial hardship, including the homeless, by providing grants, services or items to help them turn their lives around.

Mark Reynolds, Bannatyne Group North West regional manager, said: “Andy is truly inspirational and has done and continues to do so much to help people who are in need.

“Many of our members love to take on physical and mental challenges as part of their journey to maintain or improve their fitness and general wellbeing.

“We thought encouraging them to put their abilities to the test in a military-style obstacle course would appeal to them especially as they also will be raising money for two extremely worthwhile causes.”

Andy said: “The Standing Tall Foundation is extremely grateful for the support of the Bannatyne Group’s health clubs in the North West.

“The course will be extremely testing, but one that I am sure Bannatyne members, who rise to the challenge, will find mentally and physically invigorating and rewarding.

“The Foundation is grateful to companies and individuals for their support as our work would not be possible without their generosity whether it be in cash, time or kind.”

Andy was a Corporal with 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, when he stepped on a Taliban improvised explosive device while on patrol in Helmand Province in 2009.

He was so badly injured it was at first thought he would not survive, but he defied the odds. Since then, he has dedicated a large part of his life to help others in need and in 2020 this saw him launch the Standing Tall Foundation.

Three years ago, he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for voluntary service to veterans and to people with disabilities in St Helens.

Any money raised from the Born Survivor 2022 Cheshire will be split between the Foundation and Willowbrook Hospice.


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