20 July 2021

A test of mental and physical strength

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Hot, sandy, unstable terrain - a real test of endurance and strength.

That's the challenge facing a serving member of the armed forces and a veteran, as they take on a huge challenge to help veterans with mental health difficulties.

Veteran Martin Shorey and Monty Byrne, who is still serving in the Armed Forces, will be trekking back and forth along a 29 mile stretch of Dorset coastline, from Sandbanks to Southbourne, continuously for 24 hours.

And just to make the challenge even tougher, the duo will be carrying a HM Forces medical stretcher and mannequin along the way.

Starting on Saturday 7th August, the duo will undertake the challenge at the height of British summertime, meaning they could face anything from sweltering heat to torrential downpours.

Speaking ahead of the challenge, Monty said: "There is no doubt that this challenge is going to test both our physical fitness and our mental strength. We'll have very little rest for 24 hours and will have to maintain a strong mind set to complete the journey. But, that's the idea. We have both seen the impact that operational deployment can have on the mental health and wellbeing of military personnel and wanted to do something to challenge ourselves, whilst raising money for a good cause."

Monty and Marty will be raising money for the NHS veterans' mental health and wellbeing service, Operation Courage, which provides specialist care and support for service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families.

Marty said: "Whilst this is a tough challenge, it does not compare to some of the conditions serving and former military personnel have faced as part of their military service. As well as raising money for Operation Courage, this is also about recognising the fantastic contribution that our serving and former military representatives make towards protecting our country, and for that we salute them."

Rufus Pettett, Veterans Mental Health Service Manager, at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: "The impact that serving in the Armed Forces can have on someone can be huge, with many serving and former military personnel facing mental health problems as a result of their service. If you're concerned about your own, or someone else's mental health, as a result of their service, you can find out more about how to access our services by visiting: /services/specialist/veterans/ ".

Monty and Marty hope to raise £3,000 throughout their challenge and will be collecting donations as they go. You can also support them by making a donation via their Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Op-Courage

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